Humans perception on reality is very much varied. All of us are placed into specific lifestyles that end up playing a huge role on whom we become. Which makes every individual different therefore no one is the same. But each go through inner conflicts by themselves. Ginsberg noticed in the 1950's that across our country each human goes through various amounts of conflicts and insanity's. The events that takes place in a person's life correlate to how one may become. In Ginsberg's Howl it's expressed that no matter how long or tough the road of life is, no one has to do it alone, and also there are many ways to find peace within ourselves to be able to get through the chapters of life.
Names create an identity, and an identity is forged through experience. We all see the world through different lenses, and this is what leads to our perception of reality. There are problems that arise in our everyday lives, and the question often asked is who is affected. Who is the who? In part one of Howl, Allen Ginsberg emphasizes that the who is the everyday man. From the looks of what Ginsberg experienced and written down as a poem, the 1950's generation seems dismal. The who represents people that are struggling to make a living such as those wept at the romance of the streets with their pushcarts full of onions and bad music (line 48). These people abhor their current situation and to further show their disgruntled outlook on the lives they are living, they own push carts that have onions and bad music. We can also see that the who is desperate. Many people would do whatever it takes to make the dream of a high life come true, such as those plunged themselves under meat trucks looking for an egg (line 52). Ginsberg is metaphorically speaking in this line, as the egg could represent the limited opportunities that were given during this time period. Searching for such a rarity is much like finding a needle in a haystack.
The 1950's was seen as a ballad, demonstrating that everyone was born to be wild through Ginsberg's point of view. As an example, they went out whoring through Colorado in myriad stolen night-cars (line 43). Allen Ginsberg also gives us a picture of the carefree lifestyle the younger generation had during this time period such as going to moviehouses' rickety rows, on mountaintops in caves (line 43). There is a chasm that divides the youth from the old. The old is concerned for the future, while the young, in a way, is given carte blanche. Only the young can enjoy life even though they are somewhat oblivious to what is going on in the world. The 1950's saw its share of the tale of two cities. One where a carefree life is lived and the other where there is turmoil. In part I, the who is also those that fear the worse to come, as created suicidal dramas on the apartment cliff-bank of the Hudson under the wartime blue flood light of the moon (line 46). Peace appears to be the last thing on everyone's mind since war could escalate between the two super nations during this time. Maybe by doing what seems like haphazard activities allow people to indirectly express themselves, thereby giving acceptance to the daily grind they must go through.
People tend to find reasons to justify why certain things happen, and often this is done by using a scapegoat. In part II of Howl, Ginsberg depicts adversity as Moloch, a god that children are sacrificed to. Moloch is seen as the institution in which society is surrendered under. Moloch is the head games, as Ginsberg states that Moloch whose name is the Mind! (line 85), and that our view of reality is a reflection of how the mind perceives the surroundings.
Ginsberg angrily blames Moloch for being the inner demon that resides within him, as entered my soul early! (line 87). This line could refer to the way how he was borninstitutionalized. Ginsberg further shows antipathy towards Moloch as the reason he is a consciousness without a body who frightened me out of my natural ecstasy! (line 87). In addition, because he is under Moloch's oppression, Ginsberg figuratively casts away his own values and himself as an individual down the American river! (line 90). He is saying to give up being a human being to become pure machinery (line 83) that does what it is supposed to do. We unknowingly became enslaved under Moloch since he is the sphinx of cement and aluminum bashed open skulls and ate up brains and imagination (line 79). Ginsberg tells us that we have eyes are a thousand blind windows (line 84), meaning that we are unknowingly brainwashed into doing the tasks created by Moloch. In a way, Ginsberg allowed himself to regain peace of mind by rambling on about a deity being in every aspect of his life. His emotions are not bottled up, and the way he is able to let go is through his poems, particularly within Howl.
In part III and the footnote of Howl, the tone of the poem takes a 180 degree turnaround. There are no obscure intellectual rants about Moloch and what is going on in America which happened in parts I and II. Ginsberg in a way starts to mellow out and began to accept reality as it is. Furthermore, he realizes that he is not alone in coping with the everyday drudgery of life itself. He starts by earnestly telling his friend Carl Solomon that I'm with you in Rockland (line 94). Ginsberg met Solomon in Columbia Presbyterian Psychiatric Institute, where Solomon was treated there for depression with insulin shock (Charters par. 7). There was a common ground between the two, both men were great writers on the same dreadful typewriter (line 99), as well as being among twenty-five-thousand mad comrades all together singing the final stanzas of the Internationale (line 109). Ginsberg's mother was admitted to many psychiatric wards and eventually passed away in one; Solomon becomes a comfort for Ginsberg as he saw the shade of my mother (line 96). The tight bond shared between the two allowed them to get through hell-on-earth experiences such as going through fifty more shocks (line 106). Ginsberg and Solomon's friendship gave both men internal peace to ward off the destruction of the outer world.
The footnotes relay the word holy beyond redundancy. However, this is where the idea of what we originally thought of sacredness is altered. Instead of pureness, Ginsberg is all for derogatory and adulterated values that often society frowns down upon such as nakedness, where The skin is holy! (line 114). Everything that society views negatively, Ginsberg turns the other cheek. Additionally, Ginsberg satirically uses the word holy as a means of accepting the fact that one man alone cannot buck the system also known as Moloch the institution. Instead of trying to change society, he searches for the good, the Angel in Moloch! (line 124).
Gaining a sense of peace seems very difficult during the 1950's. It appears that in order to have a sense of tranquility in one's life, external factors influence the internal, not the other way around. Often as a society, we aim for a quick-fix to dealing with our problems. We might use alcohol or drugs to temporarily null the situation, but not necessarily the smartest way to go about doing so. For Ginsberg, to gain a peace of mind was to write down unorthodox poems. This was his way of dealing with the head games that life plays with him.
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