America as Seen by Walt Whitman and Allen Ginsberg

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Whitman Vs. Ginsberg
Often what one envisions for the future does not become reality. As humans, the tendency to establish high hopes and dreams is often met with change over time, both geographically and socially. This notion suggests that what one anticipates for the future inevitably becomes the furthest thing from reality. This is reinforced In Ginsberg’s “A Supermarket in California” as the future of America envisioned by Whitman in “Song of Myself” differentiates from the reality of America as seen by Ginsberg. Whitman was a visionary. He believed in the endless horizon of possibilities for America, both geographically and democratically. California, for instance, was a special example of Whitman’s lofty vision for America’s future. In “Song of Myself”, an excerpt from “Leaves of Grass”, the entry into the mystical state characterized by the cosmic “I” is established. Through the use of sensual diction and symbols, Whitman alternates between discussing the role of the universe and that of the individual by making connections between nature, and the body and soul. This is evident in section one, where he writes: “I celebrate myself, and sing myself/ And what I assume you shall assume/ For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you” (1). Although at first depicted as an egotistical representation of how Whitman views himself, upon deeper analysis, it is evident that Whitman’s abstract “self “ refers to the transcendental way he encompasses and is indistinguishable from, the universe. Thus, it is as though he differentiates himself from the “universe” by identifying his similarities. Furthermore, his ability to recognize the significance thereof is what he claims makes him greater than all. His vision of an America in which all individuals see life in the same light as he does is emphasized throughout this poem, whereby one exhibits traits encompassing and powerful, but also with strengths and limitations. He invites America to “possess...
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