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Allen Ginsbergs The Shrouded Stranger 1949 and Howl 1955-56 have very similar themes but their style and structure are very different They both have very sexual parts to them not necessarily homosexual but just a general sexuality Both poems make mention of homelessness and poverty numerous times There are mythological allusions in The Shrouded Stranger while there are religious references in Howl in addition to hallucinatory drug references The structure of The Shrouded Stranger is in very conventional verse while Howl runs on and on endlessly like a rant Ginsberg is known for the blatant sexuality that is in his poetry and neither of these poems are exceptions In The Shrouded Stranger it is particularly clear in the last verse Wholl come lay down in the dark with meBelly to belly and knee to kneeWholl look into my hooded eyeWholl lay down under my darkened thigh There is a certain desperation about these lines it makes one feel pity for Ginsberg he is lonely and wants sex for companionship more than anything else He had not yet met Peter Orlovsky and he had no love or anything like it to speak of In Howl the sexuality is much more graphic and physical ie Who howled on their knees in the subway and were dragged off the roof waving genitals and manuscriptswho let themselves be censoreded in the ass by saintly motorcyclists and screamed with joywho blew and were blown by those human seraphim the sailors caresses of Atlantic and Caribbean love Talk about intensity Although the context is very raw and in your face Ginsberg is still talking about companionship and the intimacy that is achieved from sex In Howl the entire first part of the poem is actually about homeless artists It begins I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness starving hysterical nakeddragging themselves through the Negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fixangryheaded hipsters burning
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