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by Allen Ginsberg

America Society and Class Quotes

How we cite our quotes: (Line)

Quote #4

It's always telling me about responsibility. Businessmen are serious. Movie
producers are serious. Everybody's serious but me (44)

This line puts the blame on Time magazine for nagging the speaker about being "serious." That's an interesting word, but what do you think he means? What does it look like to be a "serious" American? Do you need a job? Do you have to buy the same things that your neighbor buys? Whatever the case, this speaker's not having it. He's swimming against the pervading currents of his society.

Quote #5

I say nothing about my prisons nor the millions of underprivileged who live in
my flowerpots under the light of five hundred suns. (51)

This is an interesting metaphor that the speaker uses, describing the underprivileged in society as flowers who, rather than enjoying the nurturing rays of one sun, are under the light of five hundred suns. That's hot! We see two ways to look at this: (1) the underprivileged are the oppressed members of the society, much like a flower would be stifled and oppressed if five hundred suns were shining on it. Or, you might say that (2) since these are "my" (the speaker's) flowerpots, the speaker is taking charge of caring for the underprivileged. He's not just going to give them a little bit of sunshine, either. He's going to care for those trampled-on flowers with the light of five hundred suns.

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