Like that other classic of Beat literature, Jack Kerouac's On the Road, Howl celebrates personal freedom and breaking free from social norms. Travel is one means of acquiring freedom, the characters in Howl do just as much globetrotting and cross-country road-tripping as Kerouac's Dean Moriarty and Sal Paradise. The second and third sections of the poem deal with confinement. Moloch is the god of prisons, governments, and boring suburbia, while Rockland represents the mental and physical confinement of the mental institutions.
Although Moloch stands for prisons and government, these are portrayed as mental barriers in the poem, rather than physical ones.