Percy Shelley: Poems

An Analysis and Interpretation of Allen Ginsberg's America

Through a careful interpretation of A Defense of Poetry by Percy Bysshe Shelley and Democratic Vistas by Walt Whitman, one can gain a holistic sense of poetry, what it is and what it does, that can be applied to literary texts of all times. One can better understand Allen Ginsberg's "America" through an examination of the aforementioned texts as well. The literary merit of the poem is best recognized through Walt Whitman's Democratic Vistas, although Percy Bysshe Shelley's A Defense of Poetry also contributes some very critical parallels to the poem and its characteristics.

Ginsberg's "America" was written in 1956, a time when beatniks and beat poetry were popular. The poem is indeed a reflection of the beat style; it feels like a conversation with its spontaneity and honest tone. It reads like a monologue, incorporating a stream of consciousness feel, which results in confusion on the part of the reader, "You should have seen me reading Marx./My psychoanalyst thinks I'm perfectly right./I won't say the Lord's Prayer./I have mystical visions and cosmic vibrations" (Norton 136). The confusion that Ginsberg evokes in his poem is necessary to give the reader a sense of how...

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