Ginsberg A Generation's Howl Essay

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A Generation’s Howl Allen Ginsberg defined the beat generation poets with his infamous piece in 1995 Howl. Ginsberg wrote this only a decade after the end of World War II, and in a country raging with racial tension and segregation. The themes of madness and depression combined with the obscene language regularly used in this piece are used to criticize governmental powers and to describe the struggle that most of the Beat generation poets went through. The Beat Generation was a group of poets who came to fruition after World War II in the 1950’s. Most of the Beat Generations works and themes were centered around rejection of normal standards, embracing alternate sexualities, deeply examining religion, use of illegal recreational drugs…show more content…
Moloch is referred to by Ginsberg as the United States governments and institutions that they control. Ginsberg continuously curses Moloch throughout all of part II of Howl. Moloch is described as evil and corrupt, “Moloch! Moloch! Robot apartments! invisible suburbs! skeleton treasuries! blind capitals! demonic industries! spectral nations! invincible mad houses! granite cocks! monstrous bombs!” (Howl, Line 88). It is easy to tell that Ginsberg is angry as he describes Moloch. His descriptions are all traits of the United States which include war, nationalism, government, capitalism and hostility towards sex. The terms “monstrous bombs and skeleton treasuries” describe war. “Demonic industries and spectral nations” seem to describe capitalism and nationalism. Ginsberg expresses obvious disdain towards each aspect of the United…show more content…
He not only describes America as a desolate place but also himself and his fellow poets, “What sphinx of cement and aluminum bashed open their skulls and ate up their brains and imagination?” (Howl, Line 79). Ginsberg is asking himself how did all of his friends succumb to madness and mental degradation with this line. Right after Ginsberg asks the questions he directly attributes the affliction to Moloch, “Moloch! Solitude! Filth! Ugliness! Ashcans and unobtainable dollars! Children screaming under the stairways! Boys sobbing in armies! Old men weeping in the parks!” (Howl, Line 80). Here Ginsberg is explaining all of the turmoil that the Beat poets have gone through because of Moloch. The exclamation marks also show how extreme his prejudices are against government. Ginsberg continues to express his disdain by repeated insult after insult, “Moloch! Moloch! Nightmare of Moloch! Moloch the loveless! Mental Moloch! Moloch the heavy judger of men!” (Howl, Line 81). The terms “nightmare, loveless, and judger of men” describe this Moloch as a hateful entity, negatively influencing whose ever path it

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