Howl Questions and Answers
by Allen Ginsberg

Start Your Free Trial

In the poem "Howl" by Allen Ginsberg, what is the role of anaphora in each part to show the madness of individuals and their resistances to the government?

Expert Answers info

Lori Steinbach eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2010

write4,539 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and History

Anaphora is the repetition of words, phrases, or lines in a written work, and even a cursory reading of Allen Ginsberg's iconic poem "Howl" reveals his consistent use of this technique to emphasize his themes. Your question specifically asks about madness and the resistance to government, and those are not difficult to recognize in this poem.

The first part of the poem is primarily concerned with the madness portion of your question, though of course each person listed as mad here is also doing something to resist, if not government, then at least the perceived rigid structures and institutions of society. The anaphora in this section is the phrases beginning with "who," all of which refer back to the opening line of the poem:

the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked....

Each of the people listed in part I are types, amalgamations of the people Ginsberg has seen turn mad because they had to find a way to escape the restrictions of society; and he...

(The entire section contains 580 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

check Approved by eNotes Editorial