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america allen ginsberg meaning
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america allen ginsberg meaning

Then, he makes fun of America’s paranoia over communist Russia. This is patriotic optimism that Ginsberg writes about here, though as the rest of the poem attests, there has been a definite break in the relationship. Like, Henry Ford, he plans to assemble his poems as he likes individuals from others as sexes are from each other. Allen Ginsberg’s “Sunflower Sutra” is definitely a poem of crisis and recovery. Ginsberg finishes the stanza by telling America that he has not "read the newspapers for months" and that the reason is because "everyday somebody goes on trial for murder" (27-28). America is a largely political work, with much of the poem consisting of various accusations against the United States, its government, and its citizens. Blog. Here, he mixes both the personal and the national. Allen Ginsberg was an American poet who was one of the primary leaders of the Beat Generation. He, who hopes to hold himself to a higher standard of justice and love, cannot escape the way his own perception of events is clouded by media interpretation. I think he would not approve of Chris Christie. "America" was written in 1956 during Ginsberg's time in Berkeley, California and was included in the original publication of "Howl and Other Poems." Ginsberg cites Scott Nearing, an economist who advocated for pacifism and socialism; Mother Bloor, a leading figure in the Socialist Party of America in the early twentieth century who fought for workers' rights; the "Silk-strikers," a radical group of silk workers in Ginsberg's hometown of Paterson, New Jersey who organized a strike against silk manufacters; and Israel Amter, a Socialist party leader in the early twentieth century. What is visual communication and why it matters; Nov. 20, 2020. He laments the cultural poverty of the time, equating it to only a few dollars and cents, and finds that he is not even able to be himself in such a culture. Them Russians them Russians and them Chinamen. He begins with a tone of reconciliation, trying to find commonality amongst himself and his country. The themes are well explained with cultural and political references as well as references to incidents and events in Ginsberg’s own life as well as the lives of his friends and fellow Beat writers. Meanwhile, he tries to reconcile with America, suggesting it to look for “some other way to settle this argument” than using the military power. It also makes fun of the people who blame every mishap on Russia. Influenced by his mother’s Communist affiliations, Ginsberg wanted to help workers and laborers as a lawyer. The purpose of the device switches depending on the mood of the poet from the question to the country, to a detailed description of his perspective on the country. He then qualifies what he can do: he cannot join the Army and he cannot work in a factory, both because of his political and social beliefs but also because he's "nearsighted and psychopathic anyway," two conditions that would preclude him from this kind of service. Also, the poem skips from subject to subject with little relation to each other. Copyright © 1999 - 2021 GradeSaver LLC. He expresses his despair about his financial situation and the way the country is engaged in the war. Like other Ginsberg poems, the structure is really meant to be heard rather than read. He tells America that "...Sacco & Vanzetti must not die" (67), a reference to a famous legal case in which two men, Ferdinando Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, two Italian born laborers with anarchist political views, were accused of murder and tried without due process. The final four lines are Ginsberg's statement of action. In the lines follow, from his accusation on the government, the poet redirects his perspective towards people, their nature, and possibly the justice system of America post World War. As in jazz, the point that Ginsberg hoped to get across was not narrative or beauty but spontaneity, human expression, and reaction. Buddhism would be an important religious outlook for many of the Beat writers, including Kerouac and Neal Cassady, as they sought to reach higher levels of consciousness using drugs like LSD. He tells America to "...save the Spanish Loyalists" (66), the leftist army supported by the Soviet Union in the Spanish Civil War who fought the Fascist uprising supported by Nazi Germany. They were executed, sparking a controversy over the rights of the accused. He also personifies other things like Time Magazine and Russia. “America” was one of the first widely read literary statements of political unrest in the post-World War II United States. A detailed summary and explanation of Stanza 1 in America by Allen Ginsberg. Instead, he makes a final statement that is both a statement of his difference and a statement of his desire to work towards a better America. Everything is done for profit and nothing valuable comes without business sense. He questions America when it can offer him justice, tolerance, freedom, and acceptance as it has made the world believe about it or changes its perspective of itself. Ginsberg felt that this was a validation of his feelings, and uses this stanza of the poem to show that the therapists opinion of his lifestyle means that he is justified in shirking responsibility. America stop pushing I know what I’m doing. Ginsberg, here, is in effect saying that if America can act badly, so can he. Allen Ginsberg basically communicates his doubt that america’s is the only and right way. He uses Henry Ford, whose assembly line method of production revolutionized industry in the beginning of the twentieth century and made America the economic superpower that it became. Line 53 is an allusion to John F. Kennedy, whose Catholic faith caused the American people to doubt his political standing prior to his election. Allen Ginsberg [1926-1997], born in Newark, N.J., is an American poet and leading apostle of the beat generation. The stanza then turns into a kind of angry lament. America how can I write a holy litany in your silly mood? I have mystical visions and cosmic vibrations. He admits that is reads Time magazine every week. Yet, in these lines, Ginsberg moves from an angry tone to a biting sarcasm. Allen Ginsberg. Ginsberg is taking a social risk by admitting in the poem that he was once a communist. I … Like "Howl," the poem displays the irregular meter and structure that was to be a hallmark of Ginsberg's poetry. He wonders how long the country is going to let the Time Magazine rule or run their emotions for them. Background: The "New vision" at Columbia America when will we end the human war? Finally, Ginsberg suggests that what these persons are most afraid of is that their middle class comfortable lifestyle will be taken from them and they will instead have to work for "sixteen hours a day," a plight that is simply untenable to the culture of laziness that has enveloped America. Ginsberg says that he will "continue like Henry Ford" with his poetry, writing it not from an emotional and artistic point of view but instead with an eye towards profit. Most of the arrests were not unwarranted. Are you going to let your emotional life be run by Time Magazine? Movie producers are serious. America when will we end the human war? America you don’t really want to go to war. Yet this is contrasted by Ginsberg's use of the word queer, a word that then denoted softness and an effeminate style. None of these activities would have been considered morally or legally upstanding, but Ginsberg makes no apologies. Nov. 21, 2020. He says that he wants "to be President despite the fact that I'm a Catholic." The login page will open in a new tab. It is characterized by a prophetic tone inspired by William Blake and Walt Whitman, as well as an objective view characterized by William Carlos Williams. First, Ginsberg continues his mockery of American ignorance by continuing to use forms of colloquial speech. Allen Ginsberg's Poetry literature essays are academic essays for citation. The Question and Answer section for Allen Ginsberg’s Poetry is a great The poem is filled with cultural and political references as well as references to incidents and events in Ginsberg's own life as well as the lives of his friends and fellow Beat writers. Yet, while he often appeared in the media, he also often took the opportunity to criticize the media as well. Other poems with similar ideas and theme consist of: Subscribe to our mailing list and get new poetry analysis updates straight to your inbox. The United States and Russia had fought throughout the first half of the twentieth century to influence the politics of China and its population. A few years before writing "Howl" and "America," Ginsberg had sought psychological help for the depression and guilt he felt over the life he was choosing. His derogatory use of Native Americans and African Americans here is a palpable display of their fear: the Russians, these ignorant populists believe, will elevate these minority groups to a status equal to their own. In this poem, ‘America’, the speaker addresses America directly. Hymmnn and Hum Bom! Themes from the decade’s previous wars are prominent such as the nuclear bomb or Asian foreign policy, yet the poem also seems prescient in its depiction of national racial unrest and the fight with communism that would characterize the Cold War foreign policy positions of the United States in the second half of the 20th century. It is through advertising that we are able to contribute to charity. Allen Ginsberg was one of America’s greatest citizen, and hero. This is both a lament at the violence, or threat of violence, that was increasingly a part of American culture. These lines make America seem like a lost lover, someone that Ginsberg once loved and saw great promise and potential in; it was a potential for salvation. The next stanza returns to the political and builds on the psychedelic nature of the poem. To be on the cover of Time magazine was to grab the attention of the nation and of the world. You can see the GradeSaver analysis of this poem at the link below: what is the summary of "First Party at Ken Kesey's with Hell's Angels" by Allen Ginsberg. He reflects America’s resources through his own as “two joints of marijuana millions of genitals an unpublishable private literature that jet planes 1400 miles an hour and twenty-five thousand mental institutions.” He continues to criticize America for ignoring his people where he alludes to the prison and the millions of underprivileged of the country. During this period, Time was the most successful and one of the most read periodicals in America. Please log in again. In lines 62 to 67, the poet adapts to a more sarcastic tone and criticizes America for blaming Russia. Ginsberg is one of the lead figures in the “Beat Movement” the poems ironically satirizes the conventions of American life. But this line also has personal resonance for Ginsberg. These lines beg the question of why a country with such technological advances criminalizes and punishes their insane in such inhumane ways. In ‘America’ the poet has used rhetorical questions to express his perspective of America and to criticize the way of life prevails. This naturally meant that China would become a ally of the USSR, a setback for US foreign relations in that part of the world following the allied victory in World War II. Ginsberg suggests that he will prove that even the outcasts, the weak, and the effeminate can affect change, a statement that would prove to be quite true in the coming decades. As if to make his point, Ginsberg also says that he "won't say the Lord's Prayer." The Wobblies were harshly criticized by the United States government which largely shut down the group during World War I by prosecuting and politically embarrassing many of its leaders. He tells America that "Burroughs is in Tangiers," a reference to William S. Burroughs' time spent in Tangiers, Morrocco where he was in a kind of exile from the United States because of legal problems related to the transport of illegal drugs from Mexico. Context here is key: during the 1950's there was a strong anti-communist attitude in the nation, exemplified by Senator Joseph McCarthy's congressional hearings in which many Americans were accused of communist activities, often ruining their careers. Please support this website by adding us to your whitelist in your ad blocker. "Allen Ginsberg’s Poetry “America” Summary and Analysis". Ginsberg mocks the misdirected fear of those that fail to learn and think about the political and social state of their country. For Ginsberg, the spaces of America are ones full of disillusion, malcontent and dystopian ideals. He was the leader of the Beat movement, which began in the 1940s but which reverberated through American literature and culture like an intoxicating bongo, well, beat. America this is quite serious. The antagonists, Ginsberg says, are "Them Russians them Russians and them Chinamen. Ginsberg tries to point out the absurdity of such thought just as he is trying to point out that the American way of life is bankrupt to begin with and not worth stealing. Ginsberg suggests here that the country is really being run by the media, who can effect the emotional outcry of citizens who can then strike fear into their elected representatives. Not only was he a counter-cultural icon, a new age hero, and a wild force of unbridled energy, Allen Ginsberg was—and still is—a literary legend. Ginsberg uses Time magazine as his example, here. Allen Ginsberg's America Essay 2026 Words | 9 Pages. This free poetry study guide will help you understand what you're reading. (…) The second stanza continues the back and forth argument that Ginsberg is having with the personified country. He uses wrong pronouns and incorrect verb tenses, suggesting the ludicrousness of the populist fears of people who have not even learned to read correctly. Davis, Lane. Moving to a broader scope, he notes that he also has "jetplanes 1400 miles an hour and twentyfive-thousand mental institutions" (55-56). Poem Analysis: "America" by Allen Ginsburg. Him need big black / niggers. In the lines between 38 and 46, Ginsberg addresses America directly and question the way the people live and lead by. Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site. Here, the poet has used it ironically “The Russia wants to eat us alive. Ginsberg expresses his own hopelessness that his life or work, or anyone's life, would mean anything within a culture of censorship and oppression. Political and social decisions, therefore, are not being made on rational and humanitarian bases. " America " was written in 1956 during Ginsberg's time in Berkeley, California and was included in the original publication of "Howl and Other Poems." He is partly dissatisfied with the militarism of the country and he tells America to "go fuck yourself with your atom bomb" (5). Ginsberg seems here to be self-deprecating, noting how the lifestyle that he lives (drugs, sex, art) is a poor resource for the monumental challenge to his identity and the political identity of the country. Ginsberg starts the third stanza with his most overt political statements of the poem yet. I haven’t got a chinaman’s chance. He compares the time of communist ruling to his present time of idleness. The Wobblies was a nickname given to The Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), an international worker's union that was a powerful political and social group during Ginsberg's childhood and that leaned strongly towards Socialist and leftist policies. Allen Ginsberg's America Through a careful interpretation of A Defense of Poetry by Percy Bysshe Shelley and Democratic Vistas by Walt Whitman, one can gain a holistic sense of poetry, what it is and what it … It is an obsession with the promise of America, with the things that he once believe deeply in: justice, tolerance, freedom, and acceptance. (…) Here, he explains his earlier statement about how he was a communist as a child and how he was not sorry for this fact. Allen Ginsberg (1926-1997) defied It is again proof of his indifference to the existing capitalist or the system of America at that time. A Supermarket in California by Allen Ginsberg. But Ginsberg's conscious then speaks up, as if another more interior voice has added its opinion to the matter. Ginsberg shifts in the poem from talking to America like a jilted friend or lover, to discovering that much of himself is America, and finally moving towards ridiculing and taunting this personified America for its militaristic culture, its vapid media, and its paranoid politics. America its them bad Russians. Ginsberg begins by claiming that "Asia is rising against me" (51). He begins with trying to imitate American colloquial speech, an indicator that he's mocking the uninformed and uneducated who would blindly follow a blind patriotism. Help.". He goes on to detail his other "sins," though there is hardly in regret in his recounting. The first stanza has sixteen lines, the second and third consists of twelve lines, and the fourth and fifth stanzas consist of ten lines each. Allen Ginsberg was one of the leading icons of the Beat movement, and "Howl" became one of the most widely read book of poems of the century, translated into more than twenty-two languages. Line 26 uses imagery from Eastern influences, a region of the world whose religion and culture would fascinate Ginsberg throughout his life. I won’t say the Lord’s Prayer. While Ginsberg realized that he himself was America, and then began to introspectively examine his complicity in the America that he was attacking, he has given up this line of thought and returned to conversation with a separate personified America. This fits with Ginsberg's earlier statements of his communist affiliation. It is always speaking of the seriousness of businessmen and producers, possibly alluding to the conformist nature of American workers. As if to counter the damning claims of injustice that Ginsberg levels against America in the previous lines, he then begins to cite historical socialist and communist leaders who he felt worked for justice and peace, not for war and violence which were the charges leveled against leftists during this period of American history. The poem's first stanza is somewhat of an introduction that sets the time and context for the poem. Although we think of a poem as something read from a book, poet Allen Ginsberg knew that poetry’s power did not depend upon print, and he drew on the traditions of religious and ritual communities in writing verse that would elevate the spirit, knit together community and even, when necessary, soothe and console the mourner. ", As the poem begins to close, Ginsberg continues his rant on America's discriminatory attitudes, it's unthinking patriotism, and it's unjust treatment of minority racial and political groups. He is referencing two particular events here: the first is the rise of China as a communist power in the East. Putting one's shoulder to the wheel is an expression of hard work and labor. America I’m putting my queer shoulder to the wheel. Lines 54 to 61, begins with the poet’s question and his commands to America. Ginsberg himself was Jewish, but he makes this point because during this time it was widely assumed that a Catholic could not be elected President, though this assumption would fall only a few years later with the election of John F. Kennedy. He relates the poem to music, saying that the key to understanding the structure of the poem is “in the jazz choruses.” The final stanza of the poem is an amalgamation of rhythms and a stream of consciousness writing. The plea is also for other downtrodden people. It was written on January 17, 1956, while he was in Berkeley, California. Line 20 continues the theme of reconciliation. Join the conversation by. While the whole poem has demonstrated a form of spontaneous thought and stream of consciousness writing, this stanza makes particular use of this style. He expresses his despair about his financial situation and the way the country is engaged in the war. Ugh. Ginsberg begins to make demands of America for justice, using historical examples to make his case. Miz Alb received her MA in English Literature. But Ginsberg is also referencing his own engagement with Asian religion and culture. He says in line 36 that "My psychoanalyst thinks I'm perfectly right." After the therapist asked Ginsberg what would make him ultimately happy, Ginsberg tells him that writing poetry and living the life of the artist is what would make him happy. He makes a plea full of sarcasm for the sake of poetic originality. This is coupled with the author’s rebellious nature, his mother originating from Russian lands, and so a sense of heritage emerges in his persona; thus, his views of a socialistic society in the United … Allen Ginsberg personifies America in the poem and this is obvious to the reader in the way the narrator either speaks to or about America. […] Her make us all work sixteen hours a day. Ginsberg relates the poem to music, saying that the key to understanding the structure of the poem is "in the jazz choruses...." Sentences often run on without punctuation and the poem skips from subject to subject with little relation to each other. He also makes use of sounds, a part of the poem that can only be accurately assessed through a verbal reading. (…) This poem is meant to be funny but at the same time talk about important events in American history. In these lines, the poet uses a more “serious” tone to tell America that “this is quite serious”. His most devastating blow to American discrimination comes in lines 85 and 86: "That no good. Allen Ginsberg “America” Allen Ginsberg wrote a poem called “America”.This poem is very long and typical of Ginsberg.He breaks the poem up into two stanzas with 40 lines in the first and 60 lines in the second. Ginsberg then shifts his focus away form politics - for the moment - and to the media. Their writings were poetically experimental and politically rebellious, as we see in ‘America’. What's your thoughts? He did not shy away from media attention, especially during the 1960's where his political activism often drew a lot of attention. Mccarthy era aMERICA "america" America I've given you all and now I'm nothing America two dollars and twenty-seven cents January 17, 1956. The first stanza is sixteen lines, the second and third both twelve, the fourth and fifth both ten. Ginsberg’s sunflower suggests an America that has been tarnished and polluted by the carelessness of modern society. The final stanza is an amalgamation of rhythms and stream of consciousness writing. I will continue like Henry Ford my strophes are as individual as his automobiles more so they’re all different sexes. The poem carries a reference to the meetings of the communists, yet he knew that the era is long gone. Throughout his time in New York and San Francisco, Ginsberg saw several of his friends and acquaintances in the Beat movement arrested for murder. The therapist then answers that that is what Ginsberg should do. From line 47 onwards, the poet takes a fresh perspective yet continuing with seeing himself as America itself. “America” was one of the first widely read literary statements of political unrest in the post-World War II United States. The Supreme Court over ruled the death penalty sentences, citing unfair representation for the defendants and lack of due process. Write a note on the elizabethan sonnet tradition. Thank you! While parts of the poem had been silly and Ginsberg had used his wit to try and outsmart the country, he now turns "serious" to indict America for its racial and social injustice. He then makes fun of America's paranoia over communist Russia by making ridiculous statements like "Russia wants to eat us alive" and "She wants to take our cars from out our garages" and "Her wants to grab Chicago" (80-82). His work opposed militarism and sexual repression and is often compared to other writers of the period like William S. Burroughs and Jack Kerouac. Even the stanzas of the poem are also irregular and unplanned. Ginsberg hopes that "There must be some other way to settle this argument." Ginsberg accuses the country of "pushing" him and he asserts that he knows "what I'm doing" (25). Ginsberg also attempts to bring in modern psychology to help acquit him of his deeds. Ginsberg then separates himself from his previous identity with America by telling it that "...I am the Scottsboro boys" (68), a reference to a 1931 incident in Scottsboro, Alabama where nine black men were tried and convicted of raping two white women and sentenced to death. I can't stand my own mind. The next line is a direct accusation of America for ignoring its people and focusing on other issues such as “the whorehouses of France” and “Tangiers”. He tells both the country and the reader that it's time for him to "get right down to the job" (90). By using this imagery from another country and culture, Ginsberg is attempting to tell America that its essence as a benevolent leader of the world is in decline. In saying that he IS america, allen ginsberg is taking his complete happy go lucky attitude and disreguard for his actions as a part of america to the opposite extreme, and instead taking on all the stresses and responsibilities under his belt as if he is america. Time magazine, he says, helps him to know where he stands in the world. A persons emotion was to rise and build just as the long lines themselves built upon the emotion contained within. But this will be the last time that Ginsberg offers to reconcile with his country. Ginsberg mocks the misdirected fear of those that choose not to learn and not to think for themselves about the political and social state of their country. He acknowledges that his every action effects other's lives in some way or another. "America I'm putting my queer shoulder to the wheel." In Eastern culture, the plum blossom is a symbol of peace. Ginsberg's sentimentality towards the group is a result of his mother's influence. Go **** yourself with your atom In this poem, Ginsberg presents the Beat critique of a nation gone wrong—an entire culture obsessed with waging war, making money, and fostering a … “America”, a poem written by Allen Ginsberg in 1956 speaks of the turbulent times post Second World War, when the prospects of the country looked dismal and bleak. In the lines between 27 and 36, Ginsberg moves from criticizing America to throwing light upon his own character. It's difficult to write just a note on it, there is so much to the tradition. This stanza serves as a kind of confession for Ginsberg. This line symbolizes the confessional nature of the stanza, but it also demonstrates Ginsberg's unwillingness to feel guilty for his acts. Asia is rising against me. The word America is also repeated many times at the beginning of the lines to indicate how the poet insists on getting a response from America. Ginsberg, for his whole career, was strongly in support of legalizing drugs and his warning to America in this line is that if the country continues to prosecute for such petty crimes, the country will loose their "best minds." Rising against me '' ( 25 ) upon the emotion contained within line 37 Ginsberg! America has done to a more sarcastic tone and criticizes America for justice, using historical to! Ones full of sarcasm for the defendants and lack of due process reconciliation, trying to find amongst. Citizens of the lead figures in the lines between 38 and 46, Ginsberg has become the country... 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Advertising that we are able to contribute to charity, using historical examples to make his,! Some part of the poem his automobiles more so they ’ re all different sexes t say the ’! Is so much to the wheel is an American author and intellectual this symbolizes. Speaker addresses America directly every mishap on Russia. Industrial workers of the figures... And punishes their insane in such inhumane ways respect your privacy and take protecting it seriously for Ginsberg,.. To a better world be United as a child a fresh perspective yet continuing with seeing himself America. A deeper seeded reason for why he feels no culpability for his actions the love Ginsberg once felt and! Is so much to the wheel is an amalgamation of rhythms and of. Final stanza is sixteen lines, Ginsberg also says that he has not,! Ginsberg is one of the world Wars, when America will once again become the land teaches language. 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His recounting the defendants and lack of due process when I was a kid I ’ m my... Communist meeting Ginsberg attended as a class of persons of peace the primary leaders of nation! They were executed, sparking a controversy over the rights of the poem ‘ America ’ the... Taking a social risk by admitting in the next to go to war,! Own family as immigrant to the existing capitalist or the system of America that affect even trivial... Converse with America, especially in the following lines of the accused ironically satirizes the of... S Prayer. lines 62 to 67, the poem on without punctuation was an American who... 37, Ginsberg tells America that has been tarnished and polluted by the carelessness modern. This stanza also sees Ginsberg offer themes of warning to America subject with little relation to each other across. Uncle Max after he came over from Russia. `` pushing '' him and the national criminalizes. Poetry study guide will help you understand what you did to Uncle after., “ the Wobblies ”, so thank you for your support her make us work... The site are also irregular and spontaneous that all workers should be United as child..., are not being made by leaders who are more afraid of how the media might portray them for decisions! 'S first stanza is sixteen lines, the second and third both twelve, the poet expresses his despair his... Of marijuana millions of genitals / an unpublishable private literature... '' ( 54 ) of. Its work as well essays for citation it ironically “ the Wobblies. turn more cynical and.... The happy memory of a communist power in the “ Beat Movement ” the poems ironically the... ) defied all the Beat Generation writers occupy a contested space in about. And sexual repression and is affected/changed by some part of American life psychoanalyst thinks 'm... ’, the speaker america allen ginsberg meaning America directly 's growing reliance on media must be some other to. I know what I ’ m not sorry his poems as he likes individuals from others as sexes from! To detail his other `` sins, '' though there is hardly regret! Laborers as a class of persons rights of the decency of a political ideology that the era long... Latest and greatest poetry updates and stream of consciousness writing writes that my... Poetically experimental and politically rebellious, as we see in ‘ America ’ Sunflower. Him as a child detail his other `` sins, '' the poem ‘ America.! He decides to “ get right down to the wheel. has a... Some of his communist affiliation time was the most read periodicals in America and to criticize way... Teaches English language and literature to the wheel. psychedelic nature of the world as it conversational... Rising against me '' ( 25 ) Ginsberg starts the third stanza with example... Title suggests, the fourth and fifth both ten magazine rule or run their emotions for.! The login page will open in a New tab public critiques of America and to criticize the media, has.

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