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Howl

  • Date Submitted: 04/29/2014 05:44 AM
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Matt Wesling
Mrs. Thomas, M.A.
Composition and Rhetoric II
5 March 2013

Explication of Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl”
Allen Ginsberg’s poetry highlighted his obvious distrust of modern society, government and basically any other type of formal establishment the world had to offer. A perfect example would be the poem “America”, which included topics ranging anywhere from the use of nuclear weapons to the racial unrest in The United States. In this poem, Allen Ginsberg shares his opinion of the many faults he believed The United States was riddled with. “America” was one of the first widely read works of literature that called attention to the political unrest in the country. The second poem, which is likely to be the most well known of Ginsberg’s works, is “Howl”. In this poem, Ginsberg voices his opinions on how certain institutions are to blame for the violence, hardships and addictions in the lives of the “best minds” of society. This poem was a pivotal point in the career of Allen Ginsberg and succeeded in putting this new form of poetry in the spotlight. Like many of his other poems, Ginsberg’s use of irregular structure is very evident in this poem. Through the explication of “Howl”, more specifically the second section, by Allen Ginsberg it is obvious to see how this poem was the epitome of societal unrest in the mid to late twentieth century.
“Howl” as a whole leaves nothing to the imagination about how Allen Ginsberg feels about modern society. Part of the poem is his vision for the future, however a large part concentrates on him blaming formal institutions for the destruction of human nature. In the second section of the poem, Ginsberg talks about the ancient God-like figure Moloch. The Phoenicians and other pre-existing civilizations worshiped the sun god Moloch who happened to participate in the act of sacrificing children. The connection made between Moloch and the effects Ginsberg believed modern establishments had on the minds of the common people...

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