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Supermarket In California By: Allen Ginsberg. What thoughts I have of you tonight, Walt Whitman, for I walked down the sidestreets under the trees with.

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Presentation on theme: "Supermarket In California By: Allen Ginsberg. What thoughts I have of you tonight, Walt Whitman, for I walked down the sidestreets under the trees with."— Presentation transcript:

1 Supermarket In California By: Allen Ginsberg

2 What thoughts I have of you tonight, Walt Whitman, for I walked down the sidestreets under the trees with a headache self-conscious looking at the full moon. In my hungry fatigue, and shopping for images, I went into the neon fruit supermarket, dreaming of your enumerations! What peaches and what penumbras! Whole families shopping at night! Aisles full of husbands! Wives in the avocados, babies in the tomatoes! --and you, García Lorca, what were you doing down by the watermelons?

3 I saw you, Walt Whitman, childless, lonely old grubber, poking among the meats in the refrigerator and eyeing the grocery boys. I heard you asking questions of each: Who killed the pork chops? What price bananas? Are you my Angel? I wandered in and out of the brilliant stacks of cans following you, and followed in my imagination by the store detective. We strode down the open corridors together in our solitary fancy tasting artichokes, possessing every frozen delicacy, and never passing the cashier.

4 Where are we going, Walt Whitman? The doors close in a hour. Which way does your beard point tonight? (I touch your book and dream of our odyssey in the supermarket and feel absurd.) Will we walk all night through solitary streets? The trees add shade to shade, lights out in the houses, we'll both be lonely. Will we stroll dreaming of the lost America of love past blue automo- biles in driveways, home to our silent cottage? Ah, dear father, graybeard, lonely old courage-teacher, what America did you have when Charon quit poling his ferry and you got out on a smoking bank and stood watching the boat disappear on the black waters of Lethe?

5 Allan Ginsberg is an important figure in the turning point of the beatnik generation of the 1950's and the counter cultural revolution of the 1960's. His first book of poems, which included a supermarket in California, was published in 1955 and was subject to an obscenity trial due to the books explicit content including the obvious treatment of Ginsberg's homosexuality. This was finally overturned when the book was designated as having vast "social importance" Throughout his writing career, Ginsberg establised a following with a new generation of artistic rebels, including Bob Dylan, by publicly addressing issues such as drug liberalisation and sexual freedom. BIOGRAPHY

6 Along with his openness and radical views, Ginsberg expressed a dissenting opinion against consumer capitalism, as clearly indicated by "A Supermarket in California".Also seen in this poem is an emphasis on Walt Whitman. Walt Whitman was one of Ginsberg's biggest idols (influences), shown in this poem. One thing to note is the similarities of these two poets. Whitman was one of the transitional writers between transcendentalism and realism. Even though the transcendental movement was in the early to middle nineteenth century, a lot of similar ideas were expressed during the counter cultural revolution during the 1960's, which was partially influenced by the writings of Allan Ginsberg.

7 Tone & Musicality The imagery in Supermarket California is typically romantic. We see an example of this in the first stanza. The speaker is walking alone under the trees looking at the full moon Ginsberg also shows a desire to be like Walt Whitman as if he is extremely inspired Written in Free Verse Free verse- is an open form of writing in which the rhythmic pattern is not organized into meter that is, into units of stressed and unstressed syllables but rather follows more natural or organic patterns of composition. This poem is meant to be read aloud Ginsberg treats his lines as single breath units, foregrounding the fact that his verse is meant to be read aloud The poem is meant to be read with emotion and crescendos as if it were a piece of music.

8 Symbols & Metaphors Walt Whitman- symbol, Ginsburg has a love for him and his work, and he is using him as a symbol of the way things used to be when he was alive. Things were more focused on nature and it's beauty, and that is opposite of the way things are today "I walked under the trees with a headache"- symbol representing how commercialized everything has become and how it is hard to take everything in our world in Fruits and produce- comparison to people, shows how we don't even view fruit as nature anymore; it is just imported product from other states and countries. Everything is becoming more commercialized and the natural beauty is being taken away Wives in the avocados; babies in the tomatoes- represents consumerism, not knowing who we are buying from "We strode down the open corridors together in our solitary fancy tasting artichokes, possessing every frozen delicacy, and never passing the cashier."-

9 This is representing how he wishes things would go back to the way things used to be when Walt Whitman was around. The simplicity and how everything was based on natural beauty and not commercialized. "Will we stroll dreaming of the lost America of love past blue automobiles in driveways, home to our silent cottage"- this also represents commercialization, how everywhere they look, the world has become more industrialized and the beauty of nature is not embraced anymore

10 Themes and Analysis -"A Supermarket in California" is about a writer who is searching for inspiration, pondering at the writings and ideas of others before him, particularly Walt Whitman. Many analystists believe this poem was a response to Whitman's "I Hear America Singing", especially. This poem depicts the innate desire of Ginsberg to live up to and follow in the footsteps of the greatest minds and events in human history. -Walt Whitman was the first poet to openly detail homosexuality, and Ginsberg paid homage to that fact both as a homosexual man himself, but as a poet. Whitman was Ginsbergs spiritual equal and literary mentor, as seen in his describing Whitman as a "graying, fatherly figure". "A Supermarket in California" mirrors Ginsberg's own bewilderment and jaded response with America, while trying to retain hope for his country along with the despair he holds as well. other themes:

11 the spiritual desolation of America homoeroticism the isolation of the modern individual -Ginsberg is world weary that he suffers from a spiritual, as much as a physical exhaustion, as seen in Lines 1-3, where he claims:having a headache and being in a "hungry fatigue." "shopping for "images"-the reduction of every thing and thought in America to something that can be bought and sold -Spanish poet Frederico Garcia Lorca, a heavily persecuted gay playwright who was fond of Whitman as well -In line 4-7, Ginsberg dictates a sad, old man who is poking around the meats looking for a bargain: Whitman.This is how Ginsberg imagines Whitman might be had he lived in modern America.Ginsberg calls himHe calls him a "lonely old grubber," but means it as a term of affection. Ginsberg underscores his own sexual desires and his knowledge of Whitman's homoerotic impulses when he says that he sees him "eyeing the grocery boys", despite

12 Whitman being anything other than perverted. This means that this description is how Ginsberg sees himself as Whitman and in Whitman, not sexually, but as a man who is ravenous for knowledge and experience. -Ginsberg imagines that he himself is being followed by store detectives. This line and the one that follows speak to the influence that Whitman has had on Ginsberg and to the controversial reputation of both poets. The store detective can be seen as the controlling force of conventional morality, a force that poets have struggled against in all cultures. -In lines 8-12, Ginsberg asks Whitman where he is going after "closing time" because "the doors close in an hour." This is not a literal closing however, but a cry for societal reformation in America, to move to a spiritual, not a materialistic society. Ginsberg alludes to us having very little time left to become an open and free and tolerant society, before we become set in our ways and behaviors. Whitmans bear is an image as to whether America will

13 heed Ginsbergs desire and warnings. -The America that Ginsberg sees himself living in is a conformist one, where people work long hours at unfulfilling jobs to acquire their houses, cars, and families. This is summed up by the image "blue automobiles in driveways." He wishes to know the America that Whitman knew when he died, and Ginsberg contemplates the tenuous bond between past and present while on a bank watching boats disappear.

14 What thoughts I have of you tonight, Walt Whitman, for I walked down the sidestreets under the trees with a headache self-conscious looking at the full moon. In my hungry fatigue, and shopping for images, I went into the neon fruit supermarket, dreaming of your enumerations! What peaches and what penumbras! Whole families shopping at night! Aisles full of husbands! Wives in the avocados, babies in the tomatoes! --and you, García Lorca, what were you doing down by the watermelons?

15 I saw you, Walt Whitman, childless, lonely old grubber, poking among the meats in the refrigerator and eyeing the grocery boys. I heard you asking questions of each: Who killed the pork chops? What price bananas? Are you my Angel? I wandered in and out of the brilliant stacks of cans following you, and followed in my imagination by the store detective. We strode down the open corridors together in our solitary fancy tasting artichokes, possessing every frozen delicacy, and never passing the cashier.

16 Where are we going, Walt Whitman? The doors close in a hour. Which way does your beard point tonight? (I touch your book and dream of our odyssey in the supermarket and feel absurd.) Will we walk all night through solitary streets? The trees add shade to shade, lights out in the houses, we'll both be lonely. Will we stroll dreaming of the lost America of love past blue automo- biles in driveways, home to our silent cottage? Ah, dear father, graybeard, lonely old courage-teacher, what America did you have when Charon quit poling his ferry and you got out on a smoking bank and stood watching the boat disappear on the black waters of Lethe?


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