In “Howl” by Allen Ginsberg, what is the connection between insanity and conformity?
The poem "Howl" by the beat poet Allen Ginsberg is a celebration, or at least a documentation, of the counterculture of the 1950s. He writes about both insanity and conformity, and for him there is a direct causal relationship. One causes the other.
The first line of the poem begins his argument:
I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness.
What follows is a long, descriptive list of those "best minds," in poetically condensed and compressed form. As we continue reading, we learn that he is referring to his friends and others he knows who broke with the restrictive conventions of the 1950s. This list of people is found in the first stanza of the poem, part I, and it is comprised of junkies, artists, students, madmen, drop-outs, and other twisted souls who have deviated from conventional society.
As he recounts each one of these lost lives, he condemns all the things he believes are to blame for their demise into insanity. Notice that he berates all of society's common...
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