Allen ginsberg a supermarket in california essay

Ginsberg introduces the character of Lorca in line 7, asking ".. Lorca was a famous Spanish poet and playwright who had died in , yet his spirit appears in the supermarket in when the poem is written. Lorca's works were often classified as surrealistic and were considered to have homoerotic tones. In Greek mythology , Charon was the ferryman who carried the dead into the underworld, across the river Styx. The River Lethe was a different river in the underworld, which caused those who drank its waters to experience complete forgetfulness.

The shades of the dead were required to drink the waters of the Lethe in order to forget their earthly life.

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In Story Line , Ian Marshall suggests that the poem is written to show the differences in American life depicted by Whitman and that which faces Ginsberg in the s: "It's the distance of a century—with Civil War and the 'triumph' of the Industrial Revolution and Darwinism and Freud and two world wars, mustard gas, and the hydrogen bomb, the advent of the technological era, Vietnam, and IBM. What price bananas? Fone states that sexuality, specifically homosexuality, plays a key role in the poem's presentation of reality: "Not since Whitman had an American homosexual poet dared to intimate, let alone announce, that joy not pain was the result of homosexual rape and to suggest that sex not philosophy might be the most powerful weapon against oppression.

The location of these establishments falls broadly in the population distribution throughout the United States. In theory, the greater the number of residents, the stronger the demand for supermarkets and grocery.


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The cork industry is guilty of complacency and lack of innovation because they failed to recognize the changes in the wine industry. The wine industry was experiencing a revolution where new producers from Australia, California and Chile had new and different requirements. It took only a matter of years for the industry to change completely and the cork industry did not jump on the band wagon when it needed to.

It allows the competition to get the edge. The literary rebellion of the 's was concerned, in part, with the desire to break down this growing consumer culture. Not everyone was so easily lulled by the singsong mottoes and jingles of television advertising and the call of the national supermarket. Poets like. I notice all the detail put into each one and not a single.

These writers believed in ideas such as spiritual and sexual liberation, decriminalization of drugs, and opposition to industrialism as well as consumerism Parkins. Over time, these writers became known as the Beat Generation and created the Beat Movement. Free verse is an open form of writing in which the rhythmic pattern is not organized into meter—that is, into units of stressed and unstressed syllables—but rather follows more natural or organic patterns of composition.

Essay about Allen Ginsberg's

Ginsberg treats his lines as single breath units, foregrounding the fact that his verse is meant to be read aloud. Ginsberg organizes his sentences into three stanzas of increasing length three, then four, then five sentences.

The effect of this type of organization is one of building momentum. The additive nature of the stanzas also underscores one of the points of the poem: that America has become a bankrupt society based on material acquisitiveness. The poem is part description, part meditation, and part lament, and its associative logic is more akin to a daydream.


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This is also borne out by the imagery, which is surreal or dream-like. Whole families shopping at night! It is the experience of the vision that the poet attempts to communicate, as much as the vision itself. Dream visions were a poetic form widely employed by medieval poets. In the dream vision, the narrator falls asleep and—in his dream—meets a guide who teaches him things about the world. The narrator then wakes up and relates the content of his dream. It is significant that although others have noticed techniques and poetic devices that Ginsberg uses, he himself has denied any conscious intention to use these techniques and devices.

Then transcribing that activity down on paper.

Allen Ginsberg, "A Supermarket in California" Literary Analysis

Fueled by a lack of housing for returning veterans of World War II , developers began building on the outskirts of large cities. War contractor William J. Between and , Levitt converted a potato field in Levittown, Long Island , into a development of 17, Cape Cod houses that housed 75, people. Levitt eventually perfected his system so that he could put up a house every sixteen minutes. Once in the house, you needed entertainment, and by Americans owned more than forty million television sets.

Advertising—then as now—dictated programming and the broadcast schedule, and Americans were inundated with messages to buy home-care products for their new homes. Where else would they buy these products than at the supermarket?


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  5. The supermarket itself was a relatively new entity in s America, as mom-and-pop grocery stores and other small food stores closed because they were unable to compete with well-capitalized chain stores. Between and , nearly , independent groceries went out of business. To get to the supermarkets, Americans relied increasingly on the automobile.

    Allen Ginsberg's "A Supermarket in California" Essay

    Auto registration in the United States increased from forty million in to sixty-two million in In addition to all the consumer spending on televisions, automobiles, housing, and home appliances, Americans. Today: Cable television has given Americans access to literally hundreds of television channels. In addition, the internet allows almost instantaneous transmission of data over phone lines and cable worldwide. But the churches were not selling salvation as much as they were exhorting people to believe in themselves. The s in America also witnessed a growing movement against the conformity and oppressive sameness of daily life.

    Many young people opted to drop out and experience the world rather than get married, take a nine-to-five job, and pollute the air with gas-guzzling automobiles on their commute to and from work. The Beat movement, of which Allen Ginsberg was an integral part, was both a response to such oppression and an enabler of further rebellion. The Beats championed the bebop jazz of Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker, whose improvisatory methods of composition they frequently followed in their own lives and art. After already selling out the first edition printed by Villiers in England , a portion of the second printing of Howl was stopped by United States Custom officials at San Francisco, who impounded it, claiming that the writing was obscene.

    The analysis of “Supermarket in California” by Allen Ginsberg

    It is difficult, if not impossible, for the poet not to be a shopper. It takes more than this to make poetry. It just does. Tyrus Miller is an assistant professor of comparative literature and English at Yale University , where he teaches twentieth-century literature and visual arts. Along with his innovations in poetic form, he also included a much-expanded range of subject matter, some of which was thought poetically inappropriate at the time, such as matters of sex and the body, scenes of physical injury and death, and images of common labor and slavery.

    Whitman saw the American democracy of the mid-nineteenth century as the political corollary of his poetry. American poetry and American politics were to be open, democratic, tolerant, accepting, ever-questioning, and grand in scale. Whitman presented himself as communicating with every point in this cosmos, passing outward poetically through a series of widening concentric rings: the body, the city, the American nation, the world, and the universe.

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    But he is far less confident that this vision can actually be fulfilled, either by the American consumer society of the mid-twentieth century or by the young poet Allen Ginsberg. Ginsberg signals his worries in a number of ways. Most important, he employs the physical setting of his poem in a symbolically significant way. What was once open space is now bounded and carefully policed. Its stacks of cans and its aisles jammed with carts and shopping families are a poor substitute for the bustle of the city and the highways that Whitman celebrated, and there are suspicious employees watching the dreamy, aimless poet at every step to make sure he is not shoplifting.

    What price bananas? Are you my Angel? The bananas, from somewhere in Latin America , similarly conceal the labor of cultivating and picking them beneath an abstract price tag. He finds only solitary roles left to fill: the late-night shopper, This shift from production to consumption is also reflected in the way Ginsberg presents himself in the poem.