Allen Ginsberg, "A Supermarket in California" Literary Analysis

1659 Words Apr 19th, 2013 7 Pages
Jasamyn Wimmer
English 1B
Professor Kleinman
5 March 2013
Brief Literary Analysis Lost America: An analysis of “A Supermarket in California”
Allen Ginsberg; philosopher, activist, poet, a man highly revered as a groundbreaking figure between the 1950’s Beat Poetry Generation and the counter-cultural revolution of the 1960’s (poetryarchive.org). Ginsberg’s first book “Howl and Other Poems,” was published in 1955, his work was involved in an illustrious obscenity trial because of the use of homosexuality in his work and its explicit content (poetryarchive.org). This was a pivotal case for those defending free speech; the judgment was overturned due to the book’s “redeeming social importance,” thus setting the tone for his
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His descriptions of the light and space give this poem a surrealistic atmosphere. The tight aisles are meant to be a contrast to Whitman’s open spaces, one can almost feel them closing in on you like a bad dream. He is trying to join the subconscious to reality, much like the work of Spanish poet Garcia Lorca (Monteiro 1). In the poem Ginsberg sights Lorca hanging out by the watermelons and beckons to him deliriously. Lorca’s work is characterized by the “interconnectedness of dreams and reality in the characters lives.” (Patanuttaro 1) The comparison seems quite relevant to the dreamy and almost ethereal tone in which Ginsberg is going for in this piece. Lorca has a common connection with Whitman, whom he paid homage to in his own work “Ode to Whitman” (Monteiro 1). Lorca was also a rebel of his time, who defied rules of poetry and used controversial subject matter.
“What peaches and what penumbras!” The exuberance of his dialogue reveals a seemingly frantic mood. “Whole families shopping at night! Aisles full of husbands! Wives in the avocados, babies in the tomatoes!”(6-8) Ginsberg is using exclamation marks because he is irrational. Perhaps the modern family structure being displayed all around him frustrates the author; he seems disgusted by their exposition of consumerism and heterosexuality. “I saw you, Walt Whitman, childless, lonely old grubber, poking among the meats in the

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