What does the poem "She Being Brand" By E. E. Cummings mean?

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ophelious eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I love to comment on poems and analyze them, but this one is making me blush!  The poem, a fairly famous one, is a thinly veiled reference to sexual activity.  If, instead of a car, you think of the object of the man's efforts as a woman, well, it starts to make more sense.

Normally I like to quote from the poem to prove my point but I feel kind of dirty doing it here.  I'll let someone else point out the details.  The man, though, fumbles around like men do in sexual situations.  Once he begins to handle his "car" more delicately, and with greater respect for its mechanics, the car responds a lot better to his "driving."  In the end, because of his skillful handling of the, uh, throttle, he gets the car to go really fast and then brings it to a satisfying stop.

And, as Forest Gump said, "that's all I have to say about that."

abianchi eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This poem by e.e. cummings is a great example of extended metaphor. On the surface, the poem appears to be about a driver's excitement to drive a new car. The use of the pronoun "she" could be man's tendency to refer to an automobile as feminine. Upon further examination, it becomes convincing that the poem is actually an extended metaphor for a man's sexual experience with a woman, and the woman is possibly a virgin. There are many lines and words to support this interpretation. Pay careful attention to the language of the poem and the suggested climax/orgasm at the end. e.e. cummings plays with form and structure, and he uses non-traditional punctuation to push the boundaries of what words can mean.