Next To Of Course God America I Summary

What does e. e. cummings poem "next to of course god america i" mean?

I have to write a poetry explanation essay on it and i dont understand the essay.

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There is a belief that suggests that dissent is the highest form of patriotism. This could serve as an excellent starting point for the discussion in Cummings' work.  The premise of the poem is about what constitutes American identity and the notion of "patriotic pride."  An avowed pacifist, Cummings' himself did not like war and writing in a time when America found itself embroiled in conflicts abroad while enduring a period of relative domestic silence, Cummings seeks to bring out the idea that to love America is to be able to bring a voice of dissent to it.  In contrast to the nationalism and the jingoistic approach (something he directly mentions in line 8), Cummings seeks to bring another side to the fact that American pride, or any sense of national conquest, comes at its own cost or at the cost of others.  While dissent is present in the poem, some might argue that it is only out of a deep love Cummings has for America that he seeks to critique its actions and raise awareness to how far it has gone from its original positions or belief system.

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In my opinion, this is a poem that is trying to oppose the idea of patriotism.  Or perhaps I should say it is opposing the idea of blind patriotism.

The author strings together all these patriotic symbols and phrases at the beginning of poem.  By doing this, he is giving the usual way that patriotism is seen -- this enthusiastic love of America and patriotic songs, etc.

But then he stops and changes his message -- he starts to be sarcastic.  He uses ignorant-sounding language (by gorry, etc) and the idea that people who believe that stuff at the begining also think that it is beautiful to be killed for your country.

At the end, the bit about drinking water implies that the speaker has been rushing nervously through his speech to an audience -- maybe he thinks what he's saying about how we should be patriotic is untrue...

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