Conformity In American Youth Culture

1570 Words7 Pages
By the end of the Second World War, the United States (U.S.) experienced profound prosperity. The affluence of the nation was partly due to mass-production which stimulated an increase in conformity in the American society. Clothing, houses, and families looked identical with matching styles and ways of life. Disapproving of the the new consumerism and conformity, a group of divergent thinkers rose: the Beat Generation. Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, William Burroughs, and others rejected American values by romanticizing their poverty, practicing Buddhism, and abusing drugs. The youth culture in America was fascinated by the Beat ideas and began to follow the Beats. Their actions in the 1960s reflected aspects of the Beat philosophy. The anti-establishment…show more content…
In the late 1950s, groups of several thousand people, “most of them young and children of the white middle class,” emerged who challenged values of the older generations. The youth, like the Beats, wanted to rebel against the mood of the 1950s--one of conformity with a “nuclear family” and traditional functions. Adolescents have a natural propensity to rebel, so they especially did not want a conservative society to deny them their freedom of expression, of speech, and of artistry. This stance coupled with a “radical comprehension” of the horrors of society pushed American youth to look at the Beat movement for…show more content…
Leaders of the Beat Movement, like Ginsberg and Kerouac, among others, moved to San Francisco in mid-1950s. Only fourteen miles from San Francisco lay University of California at Berkeley, allowing the growing Beat population to mingle with the youth of the area. The Six Gallery reading held in the city allowed five Beat writers, including Snyder and Ginsberg, to present their recent work on October 7, 1955. The event, considered the first public manifestation of the Beat Generation, allowed for the media to acknowledge the rising movement. By mid-1960, The New York Times wrote, “To university students all over the world today, Allen Ginsberg is a kind of culture hero.” The topics of the Beats had fascinated the youth culture in America. As the fame of the Beats increased, so too did the population that heard the Beat ideas and enacted on
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