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Corso, Conformity, and Christmas Teeth

By Zachary Reese

From the author:

In Professor Orem's English 105 course (entitled "Art in Social Activism"), we spent several weeks discussing the beat generation of the 1950s. Throughout our discussion of this epoch in American history, I was astonished and fascinated by how closely it paralleled modern American culture. The "non-conformist" has been a prominent figure in American society for decades, actively combatting the mundanity and conventionality of everyday life and introducing a new wave of thought (and effectively, a new way of life), for students and artists alike. It may be suggested that this figure first emerged in the 1950s, amongst Jack Keroac, Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso, and other prominent beatsters. It is only through a sixty year filter that we can clearly discern the revolutionary nature of the ideas expressed by these artists, as one may very easily identify with the sentiments expressed within their works, today. In my essay "Corso, Conformity, and Christmas Teeth," I analyze the effectiveness and potency of Corso's poem "Marriage," which epitomizes and perfectly captures the non-conformist culture of American society that began in the 1950s.


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