Essay about Analysis of Allen Ginsberg's America

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Analysis of Allen Ginsberg's America

What Allen Ginsberg did in 1955 was unthinkable. In the midst of McCarthyism and severe anticommunist sentiment, he wrote a poem in which he admitted having belonged to the Communist party. Yet, even more surprising was that he didn't stop there. In his poem "America," Allen Ginsberg challenges the beliefs and values that the United States has always cherished, leaving no stone unturned, and no feather unruffled. Always the cynic and revolutionary, Ginsberg slaughters the sacred cows. It is evident from the very beginning that Ginsberg is disillusioned with American society, and he is ready to turn his back on what he feels has been oppressing him. "America I've given you all and now I'm
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The sheer audacity of a statement like this in 1955 has no comparison in present-day American society. In effect, Ginsberg was announcing himself as a criminal, a felon, and a traitor. Yet he antagonizes the situation further by saying, "You should have seen me reading Marx. / My psychoanalyst thinks I'm perfectly right." (P-M 369) Ginsberg's cynical nature shines here as he is pronounced sane by a doctor, who is probably certified by a federal department of medicine, when Senator McCarthy would have you believe that Communists are dangerous and/or mentally instable. It is also important to mention the reference made to marijuana in this passage. Ginsberg was an avid marijuana user and was at the forefront of the psychedelic revolution in the late 1960's, but it is apparent that he used the hallucinogen regularly almost a decade earlier. In the second stanza, Ginsberg changes from addressing America to addressing himself. This is an important transition because it is here where he comes to the conclusion that there are two Americas. "It occurs to me that I am America. / I am talking to myself again." (P-M 369) This revelation comes by way of Time Magazine, which he is obsessed with and reads religiously. "It's always telling me about responsibility. Businessmen are serious. / Movie producers are serious. Everybody's serious but
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