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by Allen Ginsberg

Howl Rules and Order Quotes

How we cite our quotes: (line)

Quote #4

who bit detectives in the neck and shrieked with delight in policecars for committing no crime but their own wild cooking pederasty and intoxication,
who howled on their knees in the subway and were dragged off the roof waving genitals and manuscripts (lines 34-35)

Lines 30-35 deal with people who are arrested for what the speaker regards as unjust reasons. Even as they are hauled off in squad cars, they seem thrilled and "[shriek] with delight." What are they so happy about? Are they insane, or is there another explanation?

Quote #5

who threw potato salad at CCNY lecturers on Dadaism and subsequently presented themselves on the granite steps of the madhouse with shaven heads and harlequin speech of suicide, demanding instantaneous lobotomy (line 66)

The poem shows how rebellious political and artistic movements have been incorporated in mainstream society. Dadaism was a movement started in France that attempted to undermine the traditional values of art, but in the process it became respectable enough to be taught in art history courses. The students try to reassert the original aims of Dadaism by performing the absurd and anti-traditional act of throwing potato salad at their teachers.

Quote #6

Moloch! Solitude! Filth! Ugliness! Ashcans and unobtainable dollars! Children screaming under the stairways! Boys sobbing in armies! Old men weeping in the parks!
Moloch! Moloch! Nightmare of Moloch! Moloch the loveless! Mental Moloch! Moloch the heavy judger of men!
Moloch the incomprehensible prison! Moloch the crossbone soulless jailhouse and Congress of sorrows! Moloch whose buildings are judgment! Moloch the vast stone of war! Moloch the stunned governments! (lines 80-82)

The creature known as Moloch contains the causes and effects of traditional authority.

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