First reaction on Howl, Footnote to Howl, A Supermarket in California by Allen Ginsberg, short analysis on contextual and structural devices used

Essay by Serena_DangCollege, UndergraduateA, September 2009

download word file, 3 pages 0.0

Downloaded 29 times

Despite my little interest in poetry, I found myself astounded and aggressively taken away with Allen Ginsberg’s works. This is the first time I have ever read such provocative, explosive, and controversial poems; also the first time I heard about “Beat generation.” Being exposed to Howl, Footnote to Howl and A Supermarket in California helps me understand the meaning of “beat movement,” and why Ginsberg was such an influential figure in American 20th century literature. Ginsberg’s tone is energetic, aggressive; and his choice of words is obviously offensive. Not every reader would expect to see the scene of people“who howled on their knees in the subway and weredragged off the roof waving genitals and manuscripts,who let themselves be fucked in the ass by saintlymotorcyclists, and screamed with joy,” (Howl)The pictures of people vomiting, getting drunk and drugged keep ringing in my head; along with Ginsberg’s loud and provocative declaration “The tongue and cock and hand/ and asshole holy!” (Footnote to Howl).

So disturbing, so violent, so dark, yet so real. He captured the dark side of humanity, of the society he was living in, since human beings have never been such perfect creatures. He did not lie; he did not use polished language to portray a nice, elegant, moral usually seen humanity in previous old school, formally structured poems. Allen Ginsberg used his weapon, his works to present the reality to American people by delivering the shocking truth to strike their comforting illusion.

In A Supermarket in California, as Ginsberg mentioned Walt Whitman, the writer himself used the free verse and a conversational voice. With this way of structure Ginsberg seemed to be talking to somebody addressed as Walt Whitman, or maybe to himself in a monologue. While in Howl the poet used chains of repetitions, in the...