For most people, their personal journey to self-acceptance happens throughout their adolescence. It is a private experience that most don’t write down and publish. For Allen Ginsberg, it’s a different story. In HOWL, Ginsberg tells of him and his friends’ voyage through criticism and judgment. Many can relate to what Ginsberg and his friends have been through, also having experienced the same struggles. The journey begins with thinking you’re the one with the problem, when in reality, society is the one at fault. Following this comes anger, to point the finger at someone other than yourself. Lastly in the process is acceptance and clarity. You come to realize that you do not need to be angry but you need to be supportive of yourself as well as others going through this same experience. Allen Ginsberg uses HOWL as a type of path for those also facing the same struggles; he splits the poem into three sections, each successfully painting a picture of each step of the journey to acceptance.
Allen Ginsberg first step to acceptance was realizing that you do not have to be what society expects of you. The first section of HOWL includes anecdotes of what Ginsberg and his friends faced in reality. In line seven, Ginsberg starts off the first section with an actually occurrence; “who were expelled from the academies for crazy and publishing obscene odes on the windows of the skull.” For thinking differently, Allen Ginsberg and his friends, the beat poets, were ridiculed and punished. Because of the way that the creative thinkers were treated, they all felt alone and secluded, “who wandered around and around at midnight in the railroad yard wondering where to go, and went, leaving no broken hearts” (line 21). In Ginsb...
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...se critics need to be more accepting.
The journey to acceptance can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people. For Allen Ginsberg, that meant realizing that there is nothing wrong with the way he thinks or expresses himself; same goes for his friends, the beat poets. There is no point of listening to the judgmental naysayers when only you can know the truth about yourself. Many can learn from his piece, HOWL, whether they learn to accept themselves or to accept others. This poem is a composition that has, and will continue to stand the test of time. This poem has without a doubt touched many audience members who Allen Ginsberg’s piece HOWL was relevant in 1956 when it was first published, and is still relevant to thousands of readers who, in 2015, too stand at the beginning of their own, personal journey to acceptance whether they know it or not.
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