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Word Count: 940
Peter J Graves word count 884 Howl and Spirituality Allen Ginsbergs poem Howl is a complex and intriguing poem about the divine in the common world The minor themes of drugs and sexuality work together to illuminate the major theme of spirituality The poem reveals through a multitude of sharp images and phrases that everything from drug use to homosexuality to mental illness is holy even in a world of atom bombs and materialistic America which Ginsberg considers not to be holy and he refers to as Moloch As it is stated in Ginsbergs Footnote To Howl The world is holy The soul is holy The skin is holy The nose is holy The tongue and cock and hand and asshole holy Everything is Holy Everybodys holy Everywhere is holy 3-5 Sexuality is a theme that runs throughout the entire poem It is not an uptight sexuality of the 1950s culture but a liberated one And this sexual imagery that mostly takes place in the first part of the poem constantly refers to spirituality and the divine The poem reads who let themselves be fucked in the ass by saintly motorcyclists and screamed with joy who blew and were blown by those human seraphim the sailors 91-93 These two images contrast the common view of homosexuality in the 1950s The sailors are seraphim and the motorcyclists are saintly They are not debauched as the common view might see it The juxtaposition of these images helps to uncover the true theme of the piece The things that most people of the time would consider to be depraved such as homosexuality are actually divine Images of drug-use are other tools that are used in
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