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Themes

Maybe you know a political junky—you know, the kind of person who devours blogs for breakfast, followed by a steady diet of cable news. Heck, some people go so far as to voluntarily watch congressional proceedings on C-Span. Well, even if you don't know someone like this personally, you can at least say that you've met the speaker from Allen Ginsberg's "America." Much like Ginsberg himself, this guy is majorly plugged in, into both the goings-on at home and abroad. And, like most political junkies, this guy has an opinion about absolutely all of it.

Questions About Politics

  1. Why do you think that the speaker is so fixated on historical events? Is there anything in the poem that might explain it?
  2. Why do you think the speaker champions political causes that were already lost, like Sacco & Vanzetti and the Spanish Loyalists?
  3. Do you think the speaker's love for communism stems more from his political convictions, or from the happy associations of his childhood? Why? Does the speaker hurt his political claims by making fun of his opposition?
  4. If he were alive today, what would the speaker say if he went on TV to deliver a political commentary?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

At the heart of the speaker's politics is not hate, but the hope that he can create a better America for the future. That's love, Shmoopers.

The speaker looks back in history with rose-colored (that is, overly optimistic) glasses. He's not seeing the full picture.

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