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I would like to compare "in Just-" by e. e. cummings to a poem by W. B. Yeats and I do...

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annmic | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted May 25, 2012 at 8:00 PM via web

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I would like to compare "in Just-" by e. e. cummings to a poem by W. B. Yeats and I do not know which one I should pick. Could I have some help?

Ideas of things on which the poems could be compared: the theme, the language (the nature, quality, force and impact), the techniques used, the use of nature and the natural world, human nature/ instincts/ change/ experience/ innocence, etc.   

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wordprof | College Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted May 26, 2012 at 1:18 AM (Answer #1)

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By starting with Cummings’ famous topiary poem, from Chansons Innocentes (“Songs of Innocence”), you are seeking a Yeats poem that either speaks of childhood, or experiments with poetic conventions such as line length, syntax, or other unconventional form.   Thematically, Cummings’ poem is about the exuberances of both children and Springtime, when Nature herself, represented by the “goat-footed balloonMan,” a satyr or Pan, the Greek god of physical enjoyment (note that the poem itself is in the shape of a satyr’s hoof), invites the children to come with him, because Springtime is the child’s time to dance and play.  Yeats’ “The Stolen Child” takes a similar view of childhood—not exactly a time when a friendly "faery" invites the child to innocent pleasures, but to an island where, with “a faery, hand in hand, /We foot it all the night.” But Yeats’ reason is the opposite of Cummings”: “For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.”   This comparison reveals the two poets’ basic differences.  (This difference is also evident in “Among School Children,” but this poem is seen from the visitor’s point of view, putatively Yeats himself, not the children, and the children are not at play.)  A closer look at these two poems will reveal other points of comparison.

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