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How would you characterize the world that Ginsberg describes? Is he being accurate or...

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gdamon23 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted July 24, 2010 at 9:34 AM via web

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How would you characterize the world that Ginsberg describes? Is he being accurate or is he using hyperbole?

Second part:How does he demonstrate the postmodern beliefs of combining fiction and nonfiction, multiculturalism, and the experimentation of new forms?

I'm not very good with poetry

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psmortimer | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted December 30, 2010 at 12:36 PM (Answer #1)

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Alan Ginsberg often spoke about the vast changes in the world that took place at the end of World War II.  Ginsberg has affiliations with Communists, more the theory than the practice, which is interesting since his family was Russian. Therefore, there were many things that Ginsberg saw that had begun to open up as far as art and culture goes. There were people against war, focusing more on Civil Rights and embracing the diversity of a country that was used to celebrating the average American family. Think Leave it to Beaver.

Ginsberg describes his world accurately. Remember that he and the other Beats traveled in different circles than most; often experimented with drugs and alcohol to gauge how they would affect their activities and work. The latter became a focus as can be seen in Burroughs' Naked Lunch. Some things, such as Giunsberg's Blake influence came about through a drug induced haze as well as his own appreciation of Blake's work.

As far as the quotes go, I posted this part previously:

Most of the poem reflects all of these things. First one should be aware that Ginsberg was Jewish; his friend and confidant Kerouac was Roman Catholic. One of their favorite places to go, before they started to travel around the world, was New York City - particularly Greenwich Village. In other works Ginsberg addresses the culture of San Francisco and Mexicali. Ginsberg also makes it clear that he is a homosexual and often finds himself in situations that he might not otherwise.

Part 1:

"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, angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night"

Part 1:

"... who studied Plotinus Poe St. John of the Cross telepathy and bop kabbalah because the cosmos instinctively vibrated at their feet in Kansas, who loned it through the streets of Idaho seeking visionary indian angels who were visionary indian angels, who thought they were only mad when Baltimore gleamed in supernatural ecstasy, who jumped in limousines with the Chinaman of Oklahoma on the impulse of winter midnight streetlight smalltown rain, who lounged hungry and lonesome through Houston seeking jazz or sex or soup, and followed the brilliant Spaniard to converse about America and Eternity, a hopeless task, and so took ship to Africa"

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