Allen Ginsberg's America Essay

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Allen Ginsberg's America

In Allen Ginsberg’s “America,” the speaker angrily blasts America in a one-sided argument. In this poem America is personified and is addressed by the speaker as if it were human. After calling himself America the speaker asks several rhetorical questions that make the reader think about America’s ethical and moral values while questioning its goals and ambitions. In essence, the speaker presents to the reader those unanswerable questions that neither himself nor him as America are able to answer.
Ginsberg starts this poem with the speaker declaring that he has given America everything and has not received anything in return. The first line signifies the speaker’s intimacy with America. One will only
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Therefore, in the very beginning, Ginsberg presents to the reader the subject and tone of the poem in the context of this question. Ginsberg’s questions make the audience realize the seriousness of the issues that this poem discusess, such as America, politics, war, humanity, and ethics.

In his second question, “America when will you be angelic?” the speaker asks America to be like an angel. The reference to angels can also be taken as a religious symbol or a symbol of peace and purity. This question is posed because the speaker believes that America is not pure and has no religious values or beliefs and therefore, needs to become pure and pious, hence angelic. Ginsberg’s diction in this verse also demonstrates the speaker’s frustration as if he has been waiting for America to “be angelic” and has been disappointed. Disappointment seems to be the cause of anger displayed by the speaker throughout the poem.

All the questions are connected by, and in reference to, a single theme, that is, the consequences of war. The connotation of the first question “When will we end the human war?” is that war is genocide and the destruction of human beings, which the speaker is very much against, needs to end. In his second question, the connotation of angelic is the absence of war and violence in an angel like environment. Also, becoming angelic in this verse means becoming a guardian, or a protector of the people
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