How does E. E. Cummings`biography affect our reading of ìn Just-`?

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E.E. Cummings poem `in Just` may well be biographical in the sense of being a memory of his own childhood, but it is not an experience intended to reveal some unique aspect of his own life, but rather a recollection of childhood joy and innocence which the poet shares with the reader. Thus rather than saying `Betty and Isabel and I come running`he uses the first person plural. The doubled `ee`of `wee `works as a portmanteau word, in the definition of Lewis Carroll, whose `Jabberwocky` was a strong influence on cummings`technique; `wee ` both acts as first person plural and as an exclamation signifying joy. The first person plural invites the reader to be part of the plural, suggesting that the innocent joy of children playing outdoors is universal, and that he as poet, like the balloonman, exhibits his wares to bring moments of joy and beauty into the life of the reader, who in experiencing the poem, returns to the subject position of the child perceiving the balloons.

 

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