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Allen Ginsberg’s America and Kerouac’s Vanity of Puluoz

Allen Ginsberg’s America and Kerouac’s Vanity of Puluoz

Throughout the words and the lives of the Beat Generation, one theme is apparent: America, everywhere from Allen Ginsberg’s “America,” to Jack Kerouac’s love for Thomas Wolfe. Although the views of America differ, they all find some reason to focus in on this land. Ginsberg, in his poem “America,” makes a point that not many of us can see as obvious: “It occurs to me that I am America. I am talking to myself again.” Each and every one of us make up America, and when we complain about something that is wrong, we are complaining about ourselves. Being raised by his mother as a Communist, and being homosexual, Ginsberg found many things wrong with America, and he does his fare share of complaining, but at the end he decides, “America I’m putting my queer shoulder to the wheel.” Ginsberg didn’t want to sit and watch everything go wrong. He was going to do something, despite the fact that he was not the ideal American.

Kerouac’s view of America was completely different from Ginsberg’s view. Kerouac saw America as a beautiful place, with many unexplored regions for himself, and the rest of the people in the country. Kerouac credited his love for America to Thomas Wolfe. In Kerouac’s book Vanity of Puluoz he said that Wolfe made him realize that America was not a dreary place to work and struggle in, it was a poem. If everybody thought of America as a poem rather than a place where we just come to in order to live work and die, this country would be the ideal place that Kerouac wanted it to be.

The “Night of the Wolfeans” was an event in the lives of the Beats that affected them for a long time. It brought together all of the Beat’s feelings toward America. They were put into two categories: “Wolfeans,” and “non-Wolfeans.” Kerouac and Hal Chase were heterosexual, all-American boys who believed in America, the perfect image of the American citizen. The non-Wolfeans (William Burroughs and Ginsberg) were also known as “Baudelaireans” or “Black Priests.” They wanted to destroy the Wolfeans and all that they believed in. The Beats felt that everybody fell into one of these two categories.

One thing that all the Beats agreed upon, was that in order to truly become a great writer, you had to be considered an American writer.

Sir Gawain and Green Knight Essays: The Power of Three

The Power of Three in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

A recurrent theme in almost all Old English writings involves the number three. Beowulf fought the dragon in three rounds. In Morte Darthur, King Arthur sent Sir Bedivere to throw Excalibur into the lake three times. In Sir Gawain and the Green Knight the number three has a triple importance. In this story there were three different events that each happened in three stages: The three hunts of the Lord, the three seductions by the Lady, and the three swings of the ax that the Green Knight took; all three relate to each other.

The hunting and the seductions are both closely related to each other, but there is a little twist involved with the characters of these situations. The role of the game that the Lord is hunting is also the role of the Lady, but in the seduction scenes, it is the hunter being hunted by the prey. In the first hunt, the Lords prey is a deer. The deer was skittish and not much of a challenge; the first time the Lady seduced Sir Gawain she was a little skittish and not much of a challenge. Also, the Lord, “Let the bucks go by, with their broad antlers, for it was counted a crime, in the close season, if a man of that demesne should molest the male deer” (lines 1154-6). Just as it was a crime to hunt bucks at that time, it was also a crime for the Lady to “molest the male deer.” But, she was only following the will of her Lord, something that Sir Gawain did not know at the time. The Lady’s seduction intimidated Sir Gawain, and this is where we can relate the first swing of the Green Knight’s ax. The Green Knight stopped his swing the first time because Sir Gawain flinched as the ax was coming. This fear of his death can be related to his fear of the seduction of the Lady. For both situations he had his life to fear (adultery is punishable by death), and at both situations he showed his fear. In the end, Sir Gawain exchanged the one kiss he received from the Lady for the deer that the Lord killed, as in their agreement of whatever was won would be exchanged at the end of the day.

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