Howl By Ginsberg Analysis

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Resisting Conformity: Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl” and the Beat Generation In American history, the post World War II era of the 1950s is know as the Eisenhower years. This era is remembered two ways: as happy years filled with new music, television, and cars or as years plagued by the Red Scare, McCarthyism, and war. The Beat Generation arose as a counterculture to the suburban complacency broadcast to society. This generation was lead by Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, and William Burroughs as well as many others. These authors wrote literature that “inspired the worldwide literary, cultural, and political movement that became known as the Beat Generation” (Ginsberg 2). The Beats opposed the traditional values of American life, but lacked a voice.…show more content…
He writes “ I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked, / dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix” ( lines 1-2). Frank Casale discusses these lines in his article “Literary Contexts in Poetry: Allen Ginsberg’s ‘Howl.’” He writes “The poem’s opening line has become one of the most famous in American poetry. It serves as an opening into the experience of madness, drugs, prophecy, and a new vision that compose the field of the first part of the poem” (Casale 1). This line introduces the theme of the poem and introduces Ginsberg’s view on insanity and the Beat lifestyle. He supports those “who drove crosscountry seventytwo hours to find out if I had a vision or you had a vision or he had a vision to find out Eternity, / [...] who fell on their knees in hopeless cathedrals praying for each other’s salvation” (60, 62). Casale continues by saying “In ‘Howl’ the Beats are repeatedly referred to as ‘angels,’ to connect those in search of the new consciousness or new vision [...] with the prophetic tradition. The quest for ‘kicks’ was not just an epicurean activity, but a serious search for freedom and new meaning in an America growing more conformist and authoritarian” (Casale 2). As a member of the Beat Generation, Ginsberg understands the Beat lifestyle and the way society views them, and he provides this generation with a
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