The Beat Generation questioned mid-twentieth century America and sought the margins of society. This book analyzes the literature and lifestyles of the Beat authors Jack Kerouac, William S. Burroughs, and Allen Ginsberg in regard to Victor Turner’s anthropological studies. The Beats separated from society by willingly entering the rites of passage. Liminal symbolism is apparent in their literature such as in movement, time, space, pilgrimages, and monstrosities. In their liminal stage, they established «communitas» and developed anti-structure. They questioned society and made proposals to change it in their liminoid literature. The Beats shared similarities with previous countercultures, and they influenced the following Hippie Generation.
Abstract: The Beats marginalize themselves from society and enter the rites of passage guided only by liminal elders. They remain in a liminal state, establish communitas, and create anti-structure which is seen in their liminoid literature.
The model of the rites of passage for Victor Turner given at the beginning of this study can now be used to visually reflect upon how the Beats fit into this model. Turner’s structure involves a linear process for initiands moving from the pre-liminal to the post-liminal with guidance from elders while the initiands establish communitas:
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