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Symbol Analysis

Ginsberg was a leftist who (at least in the 1950s) supported Communism as an international worker's movement, if not its manifestation in the Soviet Union. In On the Road, Jack Kerouac named Ginsberg's character "Carlo Marx," after Karl Marx, the author of The Communist Manifesto. Howl provides ample evidence of Ginsberg's Marxist beliefs, which are often expressed in a playful and humorous fashion.

  • Line 32: "The greatest of minds" distribute Communist literature until they get arrested. The reference to the police as "wailing" sirens is metonymy.
  • Line 107: It's "us" versus "them," where "us" is the "Hebrew socialist revolution" and "them" is the powerful "fascist national Golgotha." The government is compared to Golgotha, where Jesus Christ was crucified.
  • Line 109: The speaker imagines that all the residents of the Rockland hospital are singing the "Internationale," an anthem of the Communist movement.

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