The Impossible Urban Pastoral: Howl’s Development of Ecological Consciousness
MacDonald, Charlotte A.
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Central to the idea of ecological consciousness is the assertion that individual wellness relies on the state of one’s environment, and that the proper functioning of a society as a whole is dependent upon the wellness of its individual parts. Howl points out the ecological instability of American society due to industrialization and capitalism being prioritized over individual wellness. Due to the unnatural progression of industry and the subsequent commercialization of America, the individual, Ginsberg asserts, is no longer able to flourish resulting in the loss of personal autonomy. Ginsberg argues this by engaging with literary tropes from American and English traditions, specifically that of the “pastoral”.