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Paper Topic:

Comparing Allen Ginsberg`s Howl and Whitman`s Leaves of Grass

Crossing bs : A Closer Look at Walt Whitman 's Leaves of Grass and Allen Ginsberg 's Howl

Introduction

Perhaps the two most controversial poets in America , Walt Whitman and Allen Ginsberg both took it upon themselves the task of breaking through the cultural norms of their times , and for this they both paid a price their work being read and viewed as homoeroticism rather than treating it as a piece of literature . This is a grave injustice not only to the poets themselves , but more so to the works because their role

and importance in American literature are denied and looked over just because of the prejudices of readers and critiques who let their own values and opinions cloud their objective appraisal of the literary merit of the poems . The debate whether Walt Whitman and Allen Ginsberg had homosexual tendencies or preferences should not be the basis of how to read their poetry . Both men were more than just sexual appetites - they were visionaries , who sought to re-draw the landscapes of their time using their poetry . Their poems alluded not to any kind of man per se , but about Man in general , about the life of Man during each writer 's life . Thus , this seeks to shed light on the alleged homoeroticism in the works of both Walt Whitman and Allen Ginsberg by providing an alternative view of reading the poems - not as self-confessions or as ego statements , but rather as the song of every individual who wants to be free , every human - whether man , woman , child , whatever race whatever sex and gender

Ginsberg 's evocation of a world dominated by fear and madness as well as longing and a yearning for life was revolutionary at the time of its first publication , but in his poetry he was following the beaten track laid down a century before him by Walt Whitman in Leaves of Grass . Both poets desired a breaking free from the social norms and prejudices of their time , and to move towards an acceptance of the individual in all its glory and celebrate its uniqueness

Whitman 's Song

Walt Whitman 's life work culminated in the many versions of his poetry Leaves of Grass . In the first few lines of the poem , readers are immediately ushered to the grand statement that Whitman seeks to impart in his poetry

I celebrate myself , and sing myself

And what I assume you shall assume

For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you (Walt Whitman Song of Myself , line 1 /3

In these few lines , Whitman is already speaking out for the celebration of Man , of the individual . He is saying that no matter what the outward appearance of a person is , it does not matter because beneath the surface we are all one and the same , sharing the same atoms that make us humans

Whitman wrote his Leaves of Grass more than just a celebration of the self - it was also about the celebration of democracy . He...

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