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A Coney Island of the Mind Research Paper

Poetry is difficult for some college students to understand. Paper Masters provides you with a sample of how to look at Lawrence Ferlinghetti's A Coney Island of the Mind. We provide this research sample to use or to illustrate what our writers are capable of producing.

Lawrence Ferlinghetti's A Coney Island of the Mind, published in 1958, is a beat literature classic. The book includes the following:

  1. Twenty-nine poems
  2. All poems in A Coney Island of the Mind are written in free verse
  3. Each of the poems combines an unconventional structure and populist tone to capture the spirit of the times
  4. The non-academic nature of Ferlinghetti's poetry is also featured.

A good research paper on Ferlinghetti's work will examine basic poetic elements used in A Coney Island of the Mind and demonstrate that Ferlinghetti's form and language may use modern populist language, but his poetry contains many literary devices that have been used for centuries.

Imagery of a "Suffering Humanity"

A Coney Island of the Mind

In the first poem of A Coney Island of the Mind, Ferlinghetti introduces the reader to a structure in which poetic lines appear as independent thoughts scattered across the page. The effect creates a rhythmic feel to the poem, where sentences are divided into broken syntax and singular images. The poem begins with an allusion to the painter Goya and his work, which is described with sweeping imagery of  "suffering humanity" that is so real, "it is as if they really existed." In what may be considered the next verse, Ferlinghetti employs enjambment to carry the concept of these suffering images still existing to the next verse, beginning with the paradoxical statement, "And they do."

Irony also plays an important role in this poem. Ferlinghetti continues with an allusion to Don Quixote's false windmills, and the alliterative hyperbole, "freeways fifty lanes wide/on a concrete continent." He depicts a modern world with billboards described, again with alliteration, as "illustrating imbecile illusions of happiness." Ferlinghetti uses irony to points out that although modern society seems to have progressed from the moment when "they first attained the title of suffering humanity", they are really the same people and have not progressed as much as become "further from home." Finally, Ferlinghetti finishes the poem with a contrast to the Goya images and grim picture of modern society with personified automobiles that maim citizens and metaphorically devour America.

Humorous and Illuminating Tones in Ferlinghetti's Poem

The fourth poem in A Coney Island of the Mind begins "In a surrealist year," the uses alliteration, juxtaposition, assonance and irony to capture a dream-like tone that is both humorous and illuminating. The alliteration begins with "sandwichmen and sunbathers," and continues with "politicos and party whips," and "sawdust circuses." The ironic juxtaposition of "dead sunflowers and live telephones," is also a metaphor for a modern age in which technology, represented by the phones, is sometimes considered more alive than a living plant, which, in this case, has been left to die.

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