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What are the two powerful metaphors in the e.e.Cummings poem "since feeling is...

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toysrus02 | Student, Grade 9 | (Level 2) eNoter

Posted April 12, 2010 at 12:02 AM via web

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What are the two powerful metaphors in the e.e.Cummings poem "since feeling is first?"

In his lyric poem, Cummings expresses his feelings about love and death in two powerful metaphors. What are they, and how would you explain the comparisons they are based on?

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dymatsuoka | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted April 12, 2010 at 1:37 AM (Answer #1)

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In the poem "since feeling is first," E.E. Cummings intertwines two powerful metaphors to express his belief that emotion is a more reliable perspective from which to examine issues of life and death than reason. The two metaphors he uses are the written word and the idyllic scene of sharing kisses with a lovely lady.

Cummings evokes the image of words on a page to stand for reason, using words like "the syntax of things," "paragraph," and "parenthesis." These images represent "wisdom," "the best gesture of my brain," and Cummings suggests that a person who relies on a rational approach to understanding the world is "wholly to be a fool." Cummings prefers to "pay attention" to his feelings, the passions in "my blood," the beauty of "Spring," his lady's "eyelids' flutter." These things enable him to be "wholly kiss(ed)," to "laugh," and to experience fully what is important in life and ultimately more powerful than death, which "is no parenthesis." Beauty and love are more significant to Cummings than wisdom as it is traditionally defined by the rational mind - "feeling is first," and in the end, the most important.

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