* Site-Outage Notice: Our engineering elves will be tweaking the Shmoop site from Monday, December 22 10:00 PM PST to Tuesday, December 23 5:00 AM PST. The site will be unavailable during this time.
Dismiss
© 2014 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
Howl

Howl

by Allen Ginsberg

Section III, Lines 101 - 105 Summary

Get out the microscope, because we’re going through this poem line-by-line.

Line 101

I'm with you in Rockland where the faculties of the skull no longer admit the worms of the senses

  • Solomon no longer has control of his senses.
  • Considering how the speaker compares his senses to "worms," we're not sure that's a bad thing.

Line 102

I'm with you in Rockland where you drink the tea of the breasts of the spinsters of Utica

  • A "spinster" is an old, unmarried woman, and Utica is a small city in upstate New York.
  • Their breasts produce "tea" instead of milk, which is a reference to their infertility and their middle-class status.

Line 103

I'm with you in Rockland where you pun on the bodies of your nurses the harpies of the Bronx

  • The speaker calls Solomon's nurses "harpies," a kind of half-woman, half-bird monster. Not a very flattering comparison.
  • Solomon makes a "pun" on their bodies, which might refer to some sexual act we haven't heard of. That happens a lot in this poem.

Line 104

I'm with you in Rockland where you scream in a straightjacket that you're losing the game of the actual pingpong of the abyss

  • Remember the Pingpong Protest of line 68? It seems that the stakes were higher than we ever could have imagined. Pingpong drives Solomon over the edge. He has to be put in a straightjacket, and he screams that he's losing "the actual pingpong of the abyss."
  • Pingpong tables were commonly installed in hospitals to help patients pass the time.

Line 105

I'm with you in Rockland where you bang on the catatonic piano the soul is innocent and immortal it should never die ungodly in an armed madhouse

  • Solomon bangs on an old piano to protest how his "soul" is trapped in the mental hospital.
  • The phrase "armed madhouse" links the hospital to one of Ginsberg's biggest enemies, the military.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...

Advertisement
Noodle's College Search
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement