a supermarket in california

Topics: Allen Ginsberg, Walt Whitman, Poetry Pages: 3 (1154 words) Published: December 5, 2013

Essay 2 Poetry
Poetry is a form of literary art that uses aesthetic and rhythmic qualities of language to evoke meaning to an audience. In “A supermarket in California” by Allen Ginsberg, he uses symbolism and literary allusions to convey a man going through a crisis between the modern American consumerism, an individual’s detachment with nature; following the ways of his idol Walt Whitman by living a spiritual natural lifestyle and also tell a story about his search for sexual acceptance among the society for homosexuals. Walt Whitman’s work deals with nature and how modern societies have effects on the natural world. Also the use of Whitman in this poem is a device which Allen Ginsberg used to contract his idols version of reality and also sexuality.

Allen Ginsberg’s first literary device in the poem, “A supermarket in California” is the use of symbolism. Symbolism is the use of symbols to represent ideas or qualities. In (line 4) “I went into the neon fruit market”. The supermarket is symbolic of mass production in modern America while the neon is symbolic of how artificial the society has become and also opposes Allen’s naturalistic way of living because there is nothing natural about a neon light. However he continues to seek some kind of approval from Walt by asking “Where are we going “Walt Whitman”, Overall the supermarket symbolizes how artificial the supermarket has become as a venue for food sales. These symbols relates Allen’s his perspective of the supermarket compared to natural food/ street stores/ farmers market and he describes it as a symbol of the man-made consumerist nature of a supermarket. He then went on to talk about the peaches and the penumbras. “What peaches and what penumbras! Whole families shopping at night! Aisles full of husbands! Wives in the avocados, babies in the tomatoes! And you Garcia Lorca, what were you doing by the watermelon? (Lines 6-8). The fruit symbolizes his yearn for the American family to be close...

References: Gwynn, R.S. Literature pocket anthology. Fifth edition. New York, NY: Pearson Education Inc., 2010. Print.
Allen Ginsberg. " A supermarket in California." Trans. Array Literature pocket anthology. . Fifth edition. New York, NY: Pearson Education Inc., 2010. 678-679. Print.
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