E. E. Cummings

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What is your analysis of "Why Did You Go" by E. E. Cummings?

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On the surface, the narrator is speaking to a little kitten who has fallen asleep with its eyes open. But the poem also speaks of spring, and in combination these images reflect Cummings’ interest in the reader’s relation to nature and to the “non-human” elements in the universe that are beyond logical explanation. Nevertheless, the connection, however ineffable, that we have with the rhythms of the universe can only be extracted in the poetic idiom, where words do more than simply signify. A central stanza is the comparison between the two images—kittens and spring:

little kittens who
are called spring,
is what we stroke
maybe asleep?

By comparing these images—kittens are like leaves that open in the rain—Cummings has captured the mysterious connection between Man and the intuitive rhythms of Nature. When recited aloud, this poem evokes the softness of kittens and rain, and gives the poetic equivalent in words. The final stanza then universalizes the Romantic idea that humans have lost their connection to Nature’s presence. (See Wordsworth’s “Intimations of Immortality.”)

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