Homework Help

In "pity this busy monster, manunkind," how does this phrase relate to Cummings'...

user profile pic

mesquitefootball | (Level 1) Honors

Posted May 7, 2011 at 11:30 AM via web

dislike 1 like

In "pity this busy monster, manunkind," how does this phrase relate to Cummings' criticism of perceived scientific "progress"?

 

 

"progress is a comfortable disease"

1 Answer | Add Yours

user profile pic

Susan Hurn | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted May 11, 2011 at 11:51 PM (Answer #1)

dislike 1 like

In the poem, Cummings draws a clear distinction between the natural world and what he sees as the artificial world of science and technology created by mankind. As he writes, "A world of made / is not a world of born." Science and technology are interpreted as the means through which man has perverted nature, creating a world no longer worth inhabiting: "listen: there's a hell / of a good universe next door; let's go." The idea of "progress" then assumes ironic significance. It does not represent the improvement or enhancement of human life through applied science; scientific progress is instead a "disease" that corrupts the body of mankind. It is a "comfortable" disease in that mankind is unaware of its destructive properties and feels blind intellectual pride while busily subverting nature.

 

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes