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Ginsberg's Affinities with Whitman

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Although a century apart, Allen Ginsberg and Walt Whitman share similar cultural, political and moral values, which they express in their literary work. Whitman's writing is considered controversial for the 1800’s. He sets the stage for generations to come breaking way from the strict Victorian poetic tradition by writing in free verse. Ginsberg follows his footsteps, when composing “Howl" by writing in long prose like lines and subdividing the poem into several parts. Likewise, he uses numerous repetitions to achieve rhythmicity of his verse. Ginsberg's poem is heavily influenced by Whitman's philosophy. The works "Song of myself" and "Howl" are similar in ideas, structure and underling themes. The two authors challenge old traditions and stand against conformity. They strongly identify with their generation and dwell on themes such as religion and sexuality.
Whitman has a philosophical approach about religion, religious practices and the journey of the soul. He uses the imagery of nature and other every day attributes to question life beyond death, rebirth and the unison of individual and nature. He is not afraid to die and admits " The smallest sprout shows there is really no death, /And if ever there was it led toward life, and does not wait at the /end to arrest it" (Whitman 116-118). He finds the Devine power in nature and everything around him, rather than at the altar of a church. This can be seen as a pagan believe. The human soul in Whitman's work is immortal while in Ginsberg's "Howl" even if the soul manages to liberate itself it is to be crucified in an abyss. In his work Ginsberg combines different religious views but does not favor anyone of them in particular. Hipsters are portrayed as angelic referen...

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...the role of the individual's relationship with the rest of the world and also the nature of individuality. They emphasize how the society might influence ones perception and ideas but reveal that ultimately it is up to the individual to choose in what to believe. The ideas shared between the two poets are centered on the desire for a more personal connection with their fellow country man and the world around them. They also touch upon themes such as sexuality and religion as to make their readers more receptive to discussing them. They question the moral values of American society, religion and the journey of the soul and urge for much needed change.

Works Cited

Whitman,Walt. Leaves of Grass: The First (1855) Edition. United State of America: Viking Penguin Inc., 1986. Print.
Ginsberg, Allen. Howl, and Other Poems. San Francisco: City Lights Books, 1956. Print