The Emotional Repercussions of Intellectual Suppression

“I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked…

who were expelled from the academies for crazy & publishing obscene odes on the windows of the skull…

whole intellects disgorged in total recall for seven days and nights with brilliant eyes”

-excerpted from Howl by Allen Ginsberg

These three excerpted lines from Ginsberg’s Howl, although not directly written next to each other, are referring to the same group of people –those who have been destroyed, starved, and stripped of their dignity by the madness of the societal pressure. However, the overall significance of these lines does not come from Ginsberg’s reiteration of his powerful vengeance that he has against the harsh criticism of societal norms. These lines are extremely significant due to the fact that he consistently makes references to the specific type of people that have been eschewed. Throughout these three lines, Ginsberg portrays that it is merely the “intellects” and those with the “best minds” who feel the most immense form of isolation. The fact that Ginsberg singles out a specific group of people that he believes are the most abject to the societal pressure, we are able to uncover a plausible purpose regarding Ginsberg’s motivation to hold such an intense vengeance on society.  Him being an intellect himself, he feels a connection with the people who have “brilliant eyes” and are extensively perspicacious but “disgorged” from society and are forsaken on the chance to convey their intellect because society deems them as “crazy.” According to Ginsberg throughout many of his works, the word crazy is defined by society as merely being different and lacking conformity. Overall, these experts from Howl accurately depict Ginsberg’s mindset about being isolated from the conformist society; he ultimately portrays that those who are able but made out to be weak endure the most pain, starvation, and neglect from society because their potential is defeated by societal suppression.

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