Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Diction of Moloch

Moloch depicts both the demon and the lover in Allen Ginsberg’s Howl. To be honest, the diction surrounding this section of Moloch originally confused me to no end. After completing some research, I decided to leave Moloch as an accent of art in the poem. Moloch depicts the best and the worst, and the unset definition of it changes from person to person or situation to situation.

Moloch may be thought of as a demon in one religious but as a divinity in others, but where to the draw the line is something Ginsberg draws our attention to. Ginsberg groups stanzas of Moloch in contrasts of emotions, such as: endless love contrasted against having an electric soul. I think endless love sounds beautiful and an electric soul sounds wonderful, but at the same time the diction of different words provide a more inappropriate explanation for the time.

Ginsberg addresses his homosexuality as he writes “cocksucker in Moloch! Lacklove and manless in Moloch” (Ginsberg II). Howl was originally published by Ginsberg in 1956 during an era in which homosexuality was not commonly accepted. The language he uses was completely shocking to the public at this time, and might still shock people today. Literary critics and the population alike frowned upon homosexuality, but still Ginsberg decided to ring attention to his writing through the concept of Moloch. Moloch strung across the concepts of demons and Ginsberg even goes as far as to pair this with homosexuality during a period of lost generations.

Moloch astounds readers even towards the end of the second section, “Visions! omens! hallucinations! miracles! estacies! gone down the American River!” (Ginsberg II). I detect a sense of irony in the diction of this stanza. The visions, omens, hallucinations, miracles, and ecstacies all went down the American river due to the general census of the American population. Many were overly conservative just as the hippie movement was about to take place, yet there were people such as Ginsberg who had visions of free love and eternity. Ginsberg was the first to write with this diction, and although it caused a large amount of turmoil, it is one of the most highly regarded poems of all time.

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