Homework Help

What sounds does Cummings make use of in the poem? What does that have to do with...

user profile pic

kels326 | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted March 20, 2008 at 6:39 AM via web

dislike 1 like

What sounds does Cummings make use of in the poem? What does that have to do with Buffalo Bill?

1 Answer | Add Yours

user profile pic

cybil | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted March 20, 2008 at 6:52 AM (Answer #1)

dislike 0 like

Buffalo Bill Cody was a famous Wild West figure who was part of a traveling group that showcased Old West skills such as sharpshooting. The word "defunct" is important, however, because cummings indicates that Buffalo Bill is no longer relevant in the modern era; he represents the idealized cowboys of the Wild West. He demonstrated his riding and shooting skills to impress the audience instead of for any useful purpose.

cummings uses several sound devices, but alliteration is predominant. The phrase "watersmoothsilver stallion" repeats the "s" sound as it emphasizes both the color and action of the horse; "blue-eyed boy" stresses the "b" sound. Consonance appears in "just like that" with the repetition of the "t." Assonance is found in "handsome man" in the repetition of the "a." The phrase "onetwothreefourfive," which describes the quick speed of his bullets, suggests a sound not unlike onomatopoeia; however, this kind of sound device typically imitates an actual sound.  Since this is a free-verse poem, however, there is no rhyme.

Sources:

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes