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In these poems by e.e.cummings, how does his life appear and contradict itself?"In...

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misssbooo | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Honors

Posted October 27, 2011 at 6:10 PM via web

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In these poems by e.e.cummings, how does his life appear and contradict itself?

"In Just-" and "next to of course god america I."

 

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted October 27, 2011 at 8:00 PM (Answer #1)

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These two poems by the inestimable e. e. cummings clearly offer very different views on life. "In Just-" gives us a childhood pictue of the sheer joy of living as the children in the poem rejoice in the spring showers that have turned the world to "mud" and the balloonman that the children leave their games for. The intense, vivid imagery of the scene is captured in such wonderful lines as "The world is puddle-wonderful," which of course helps create the unique child-like view of this world and the tremensous sense of excitement that the children have as they love life and experience it.

In "next to of course god america," on the other hand, a very cynical and world-weary, jaded view of life is given by the anonymous speaker of this poem, who is clearly not filled with the joys of spring as the children in "In Just-" clearly are. Instead, this speaker quotes hackneyed expressions that are used to show love for America, but in this case actually only serve to show his disdain and cynicism:

'tis of centuries come and go
and are no more what of it we should worry
in every language even deafanddumb
thy sons acclaim your glorious name by gorry
by jingo by gee by gosh by gum

The sarcastic inclusion of "by jingo by gee by gosh by gum" clearly indicates the feelings of this speaker, and if we are left in any doubt, note how he goes on to refer to soldiers who "rushed like lions to the roaring slaughter" only to find themselves being the ones who are slaughtered. In this poem therefore e. e. cummings presents us with the view of a character who is incredibly cynical about life and about the United States, and this is communicated through the words that he uses and his description of American soldiers dying.

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