” living in a military family. Having

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” The Doors. There’s the known. And there’s the unknown. And what
separates the two is the door, and that’s what I want to be. Ahh wanna be th’
door. . .”
– Jim Morrison
Jim Morrison is often thought of as a drunk musician. He is also
portrayed to many as an addict and another ‘doped up’ rock star. These
negative opinions project a large shadow on the many positive aspects of
this great poet. Jim’s music was influenced heavily by many famous
authors. You must cast aside your ignorance and look behind the loud
electric haze of the sixties music. You must wipe your eyes and look
through the psychedelic world of LSD. Standing behind these minor
flaws, you will see a young and very intellectual poet named Jim Morrison.
Jim Morrison’s distraught childhood was a contributing factor to
Jim’s fortune and his fate. As a young child, Jim experienced the many
pains of living in a military family. Having to move every so often, Jim and
his brother, and sister never spent more than a couple of years at a
particular school. Jim attended eight different schools, grammar and High,
throughout his schooling career. This amount of traveling made it hard for
a young child to make many friends. In high school, Jim had an especially
hard time, “The only real friend he made was a tall but overweight
classmate with a sleepy voice named Fud Ford ” (qtd. in Sugerman 9 ).
Although there seems to be many negative aspects of Jim’s child hood,
many positive did arise.

The traveling done by the Morrison family brought Jim through may
different experiences and situations. For instance, while driving on a
highway from Santa Fe with his family, he said he experienced, “the most
important moment of my life” (qtd. in Russel 6 ). The Morrisons came
upon an overturned truck of dying Pueblo Indians. This moment influenced
Jim and later became the basis of many of his songs, poetry, stories, and
thoughts. Jim Morrison’s estranged childhood was the root underneath his
bizarre and eccentric personality. The negative effects of his upbringing
helped to mold the Jim into the person he would later become.

Jim Morrison’s strange sense of humor and sickness were just
fractions of his very intellectual mind. Jim and his family moved to
Alemeda, California. This is where he would start first year and a half of
his high school journey. Morrison’s creativeness and infatuation with Mad
Magazines led to the horrification of many. When he would arrive late to
class, he would tell elaborate stories to the teachers about being
kidnapped by gypsies. Jim’s subtle and bizarre personality was now
starting to form. Jim’s wild imagination begin to produce hundreds of
scatological and sexually explicit ideas in the form of pictures and make
believe radio commercials. The deranged pictures that Jim created, were
ones with quite an abnormality. For instance, the picture Jerry Hopkins
describes, “a man with a Coca-Cola bottle for a penis, a mean looking can
opener for testicles, one hand held out and dripping with slime, more of
that slim dripping from his anus.”
All of Jim’s and Fud’s focuses again were sexual, or scatological, but they
were imbued with sophistication and subtle humor unusual for someone
only fourteen. No doubt, Jim’s sexually demented mind was now partially
The once young and innocent Jim Morrison was now older and more
harmful. Late in his sophomore year, Jim moved to Alexandria, Virginia.
Her he met Tandy, his first girlfriend. Jim now ill-mannered, constantly
horrified others, especially Tandy. He would make public scenes by
kissing her feet or asking her to do ridiculous acts out loud. Tandy
though, was not the only one subjected to Jim’s “Tests”, his teachers
suffered as well. ” I asked him why he played games all the time, ” Tandy
says today. ” He said, ‘ You’d never stay interested in me if I didn’t.”
Indeed that was the case not only with Tandy, but also at school. Jim was
now looked upon as the ring leader by his peers. Everybody wanted to be
like Jim, they all competed for his attention, “Jim’s magnetism was
becoming obvious” (Surgeman 16 ). Right down to his expressions, his
peers mimicked all of his actions. But Jim never led them like they wanted
to be led. Jim once again started taking Death defying risks that he would
also subject his brother to. He forced Andy to walk along an edge that
hovered fifty feet above the ground. All of the risks that he subjected
others to were ones that he was never afraid to complete. “Throughout his
senior year his parents pressured Jim to apply to colleges, just as they
badgered him into having his photograph taken for the high school
yearbook” ( Hopkins 25 ).
When graduation came around, Jim decided not to attend. Later on his
parents succeeded in enrolling Jim at St. Petersburg Junior College in
Florida. The instability and rootlessness of Jim Morrison’s child hood,
helped build a character that later became the emptiness of this great poet.
It was also in high school that the Intellectual side of Jim’s unique
mind started to emerge. The same year that he moved to Alameda, Jim
stumbled across a new novel by Jack Kerouac. On the Road held Jim
captive for hours upon hours. He also started to copy down paragraphs he
liked into a spiral notebook that he would carry around with him from that
day on. The more Jim read, the more he started to drift away into the
infinite world of poetry. He also read Lawrence Ferlinghetti, along with
other favorites Kenneth Rexroth and Allen Ginsberg. “Ginsberg made one
of the greatest impact, for he was the real-life Carlo Marx (On the Road) ”
( Hopkins 12 ). It was an image that stuck with Jim like glue, “the
sorrowful poetic con-man with the dark mind”Young Morrison was
greatly fascinated by Dean Moriarty, “the sideburned hero of the snowy
west.” Jim began to copy Moriarty word for word, right down to his “hee-
hee-hee-hee” laugh. Throughout the rest of his years at GWHS, Jim
maintained a consistent 88.32 grade average with only minimal effort, twice
being named to the honor roll. His IQ was 149. In the college boards, He
scored above average. “But Statistics tell so little. The books Jim read
reveal more,” comments editor of the Rolling Stone, Jerry Hopkins.

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Jim was greatly inspired by the writings of great philosophers and
poets. “He devoured Friedrich Nietzsche, the poetic German philosopher
whose views on aesthetics, morality, and the Apollonian-Dionysian duality
would appear again and again in Jim’s conversation, poetry, songs, and
life.” He read Plutarch’s Lives of the Noble Greeks, becoming enamored
with Alexander the Great, admiring his intellectual and physical
accomplishments. Jim adopted some of the look of Alexander: “. . . the
inclination of his head a little on one side towards his left shoulder. . . ” He
read the great French Symbolist poet Arthur Rimbaud, whose style would
later influence the form of Jim’s short prose poems. “He read everything
Kerouac, Ginsberg, Ferlinghetti, Kenneth Patchen, Michael McClure,
Gregory Corso, and all the other beat writers published.” Jim’s English
teacher comments, “I felt that Jim was the only one in the class who read
Ulysses, and understood it.” Balzac, Cocteau, and Moliere were also
familiars, along with most of the French existentialist philosophers.
Jim’s senior-year English teacher still talks about Jim’s reading habits:
“Jim read as much and probably more than any student in class. But
everything he read was so offbeat I had another teacher who was going to
the Library of Congress check to see if the books Jim was reporting on
actually existed. I suspected he was making them up, as they were English
books on sixteenth- and seventeenth-century demonology. I’d never heard
of them. But they existed, and I’m convinced from the paper he wrote that
he read them, and the Library of Congress would’ve been the only source.”
No doubt, Jim was becoming a writer. He had begun to keep journals,
spiral notebooks that he would fill with his daily observations and
thoughts. Jim’s studies, brought him across many of the dilemmas of
these great writers. Through the alcoholism of Dylan Thomas, the
homosexuality of Ginsberg, and the madness and addiction of so many
more, Jim saw their pages become a mirror in which he saw his own
reflection. The notion of poetry had now taken hold on the still young Jim

The greatly controversial lyrics and actions of the newly forming
Doors, were created by Jim’s now corrupted mind. Now at the age of
twenty, Jim was writing regularly. He has just quit film school at UCLA,
and moved to the Venice Beach area. Through his alcoholic and
psychedelic hazed mind ran the songs and lyrics of an unknown concert.
As one song finished, the next one started. These songs became the
Doors. “Break on through,” was his way of expressing the opening of the
doors. His songs and poems were the historical collection of writings from
great philosophers and poets alike. His notebooks and intellect are now
the basis of the Doors and the foreshadow of his death.All of the past are
now part of the present and the songs all come from the same root. Jim’s
adoption of Aldous Huxley’s “Doors of Perception” was now his number
one motto. The drugs taken were only to help open these many doors in
his mind.
Although his mind seems lost in the infinite drug world of the
unknown, Jim Morrison was the “American Poet.” His crave for knowledge
was driven by his wondrous mind and only used drugs, not as an exit , but
rather as an entrance. The world of Jim Morrison is not well known by
many. Most see an alcoholic, others see an addict, and yet more see a
deranged waste of a person. But for those who take the time to care, those
who take the time to learn and understand will find out that behind the
“American Poet,” was a young genius.

Works Cited
Hopkins, Jerry, and Daniel Sugerman. No One Here Gets Out Alive.

New York: Warner Books, 1980.

The Doors, dir. Oliver Stone , with Val Kilmer, Meg Ryan, Billy Idol,
Warner, 1992.

” Rock Star Jim Morrison.”Vietnam Generation Journal
Volume 4, Nov.1992: 3-4
Russel, Ethan. JIM MORRISON. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1985.

Categories: Music


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