What is the tone of "anyone lived in a pretty how town"?  

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amarang9 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are two paradoxical yet complementary tones. On one hand, the poem celebrates the love between "anyone" and "noone." On the other hand, the poem is a bleak look at how most people do not care about those who are beyond their close family and friends. 

Consider the poem in terms of the couple (anyone and noone) living among everyone else. The character or hero, "Anyone," is in love with the character/heroine, "Noone." So, the love between these two is a joyous thing. But other people do not notice or care about him ("anyone"). 

Women and men(both little and small) 

cared for anyone not at all 

they sowed their isn't they reaped their same 

sun moon stars rain

Cummings uses the words "anyone" and "noone" to symbolize two characters, but the anonymity of these terms shows how little the other citizens ("Women and men") care about them or their love. This shows the two conflicting themes of love (between anyone and noone) and the indifference of the community. The phrase "sun moon stars rain" illustrates how time passes and these two themes (love and indifference) go on. 

When "anyone" dies, "noone stooped to kiss his face." That is, the character "noone" kissed him and but nobody else (noone) did. Note that the title says a "pretty how town." It asks how the town is pretty. It is pretty in terms of the love between couples like anyone and noone, but regarding the indifference people have toward their neighbors, the speaker asks, the town is pretty, but how?