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Comparative Essay on Ginsberg, Hughes and Thoreau

In: English and Literature

Submitted By marland
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Comparative Essay
Ginsberg, Hughes and Thoreau

Confidence and self-reliance are qualities that are admired and desired by many people. Confidence is defined as a feeling or consciousness of one's powers or of reliance on one's circumstances, and a faith or belief that one will act in a right, proper, or effective way. Self-reliance is defined as the ability to care for one's self. Because people aspire to be confident and self-reliant, these qualities are common themes in literature. This essay compares three quotes, taken from three very different pieces of literature about American values, in which confidence and self-reliance are illustrated.
“I refuse to give up my obsession. America, stop pushing. I know what I’m doing.” – Allen Ginsberg, “America.” Allen Ginsberg’s “America” presents a sharp criticism of American culture by someone who has almost completely rejected its values. The poem’s speaker addresses America directly, as if he were giving a lecture or a sermon to the nation itself instead of to the American people. The nation’s aggressive anticommunist foreign policy and its culture of materialism and conformity are the targets of the speaker’s criticism. This poem was written in 1956 and was one of the first widely read literary statements of political unrest in the post-World War II America. Themes from the recent wars are prominent such as the nuclear bomb or Asian foreign policy, but the poem also depicts national racial unrest and the fight with communism that would characterize the Cold War foreign policy positions of America in the second half of the 20th century. I find this particular quote from the poem to demonstrate confidence and self-reliance on the part of the speaker. It’s difficult to give up something that you have strong feelings about, especially when sticking with it goes against popular opinion - it…...

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