If the “Potter” Kids Were the Beat Generation: Strange Crossovers
Harry Potter and the Beat Generation: two seemingly dissimilar movements – and practically, cultures – have come together to find strange similarities and coincidences!
WHAT IS THE BEAT GENERATION?
The Beat Generation was a group of writers and artists in 1950s and 1960s America who sought to tell the post-World War II struggle. As written by John Clellon Holmes in his essay “This is the Beat Generation”:
[Beat] implies the feeling of having been used, of being raw…a sort of nakedness of mind, and ultimately, of soul…of being reduced to the bedrock of consciousness…being undramatically pushed up against the wall of oneself.
The Beats sought to redefine literature and to turn away from the mainstream. They set the way for beatniks and the hippie/counterculture movement to follow them in their ways of thinking. The Beats were far from perfect, but they were very interesting.
(VERY STRANGE AND DEBATEABLE) COUNTERPARTS
Harry Potter & Allen Ginsberg
And don’t think it’s just because Daniel Radcliffe played Allen Ginsberg in the movie Kill Your Darlings. While Ginsberg definitely has more of an ego than Harry does, Ginsberg expresses in his poetry some of the sad and frightening reality Harry endures as Voldemort reigns, things Harry notices and feels for:
Children screaming under the stairways!* (Battle of Hogwarts, moving staircases)
Boys sobbing in armies!* (Draco, stuck on Voldemort’s side)
Old men weeping in the parks!* (Dumbledore, weeping in King’s Cross on the bench about all that has happened with himself and all Harry has endured)
If that doesn’t convince you, Harry liked Felix Felicis like Ginsberg liked, umm, other substances!
*Italicized lines from the poem “Howl, Part II” by Allen Ginsberg
Ron Weasley & Neal Cassady
Neal Cassady was an important figure in the Beat Generation. He was not much of a writer, but he served as the inspiration for Kerouac’s character Dean Moriarity in the novel On the Road, as well as kept Ginsberg’s fascination and admiration. He had a great sense of humor and kept the group together, much like Ron does: Even after Ron leaves—and Neal did leave quite a bit, too—when he comes back, Harry and Hermione feel invigorated in their fight against Voldemort. He is the glue to the group, and that was Neal Cassady as well.
There are two things I’ve got to say here: [O]ne is a sidepoint and it’ll come second; the first is essential to the understanding of this story, so I gotta give you one of my Hollywood flashbacks.*
*Italicized line from “The Joan Anderson Letter” from Neal Cassady to Jack Kerouac
Hermione Granger & Hettie Cohen
Hettie Cohen, now Hettie Jones, was formerly married to LeRoi Jones (who later changed his name to Amiri Baraka), African-American poet and playwright. Hettie proves herself to have a sharp mind, much like Hermione does. Like Hettie, Hermione often takes matters into her own hands when things don’t go her way, but she is fiercely loyal to movements that matter to her and that she thinks will make a change—like SPEW (Hettie Jones currently works with PEN American Center’s Prison Writing committee and runs a writing workshop at the New York State Correctional Facility for Women.)
now that we’ve plunged into war / and wars don’t stop like rain stops / … / are you breathing, are you lucky enough / to be breathing*
*Italicized lines from the poem “Weather” by Hettie Jones
Stay tuned for more wacky and just weird crossovers between the Potter characters and the historic Beat Generation!