Jim Morrison; From Boy To Legend
Word Count: 1440″hope is just a word
when you think in
Laughter will not end
her funny feeling
or assuage our
Children will be born”
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. 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 his life. 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 personality. The negative
effects of his upbringing helped to mold Morrison 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. His wild imagination began to
produce hundreds of 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 and Fud’s
focuses again were sexual, but they were imbued with sophistication and subtle humor unusual for someone
only fourteen. No doubt, Jim’s sexually demented mind was now partially formed. The once young and
innocent Jim Morrison was now older and more harmful. Late in his sophomore year, Jim moved to
Alexandria, Virginia. Here 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.
Jim was now looked upon as the ring leader by his peers. Everybody wanted to be like Jim, they all
competed for his attention. Right down to his expressions, his peers mimicked all of his actions. But Jim
never led them like they wanted to be led.
Morrison 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. 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. Young Morrison was greatly fascinated by Dean
Moriarty. 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
Statistics tell so little about him. The books Jim read reveal more. 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 way he tilted 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. Balzac, Cocteau, and Moliere were also familiars,
along with most of the French existentialist philosophers. 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 Morrison.
The 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 fortelling 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 seemed 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
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.
“This is the end, beautiful friend,
This is the end, my only friend,
of our elaborate plans,
no safety or surprise,
I’ll never look into your eyes again…