Ginsberg’s “A Supermarket in California” criticizes America during the midst of the twentieth century in which society had acquired an attitude that heavily valued the materialistic aspects of life. In order to efficiently express the speaker’s discontent with society, he paints images by using vivid detail throughout the entire poem to allow the reader to experience what the speaker experiences himself. He begins by describing the setting on the streets of California, “I walked down the sidestreets under the trees…/… looking at the full moon” (2-3) and had thoughts of Walt Whitman, a nineteenth century poet whom Ginsberg deeply admired. The setting is essential as it describes the two worlds in which the speaker lives in; one represented by the metropolitan landscape of downtown California and another represented by nature, which the speaker longs to be a part of. The speaker describes himself as a lost soul in search of satisfaction in conventional America, a place where he does no...
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...g with many individuals, are alienated and in turn, wish for extreme change and even another life. Ginsberg conveys a vital message that carries through to the year 2010 even more. Materialism does not make a person, it is insignificant. What is imperative is the natural world; beauty, individuality, and real human interactions as these are concepts that make an individual.
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