Howl - Analysis of Ginsberg's "Howl" Writing is...

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Analysis of Ginsberg’s “Howl” Writing is an expression of the mind. It preserves the words and the thoughts of the author, and is used as a vessel for ideas that the writer feels they must communicate. Writing, therefore, can be viewed as a form of freedom; a means to express one’s self when situations may not permit a public forum for conveyance. Captivity can be symbolically breached by a writer’s pure personal expression through writing. In Alan Ginsberg’s “Howl”, Ginsberg uses the poem and the characters within it to convey not only his sorrow and lamentation for “the best minds of (his) generation destroyed by madness”, but also his rebellion against the captivity and conditions that forced his characters into their suicidal, surreal states. Ginsberg’s symbols and examples throughout the poem juxtapose the deplorable condition of his characters with their struggle against strife and captivity to retain that which they held so dear: their brilliance, their reality, and their very minds. This symbolic freedom is the drive behind this poem. Ginsberg seems to argue that, though his characters suffer lives of insanity, drug addiction, and outcast, they still represent a form of freedom. The bulk of “Howl” outlines whom, in Ginsberg’s “generation”, he sees that has been ravaged by the effects of madness. Though not explicitly stated, it is implied that the dilapidated mental state of Ginsberg’s contemporaries has been brought about by the captivity they felt as outcasts of their culture. Ginsberg and his fellow beatniks based their personal philosophy on the social changes they wished to bring about; for Ginsberg,
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This note was uploaded on 03/29/2008 for the course ENG 287 taught by Professor Staff during the Fall '07 term at N.C. State.

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Howl - Analysis of Ginsberg's "Howl" Writing is...

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