E. E. Cummings poems and connects
A limited time offer! Get a custom sample essay written according to your requirements urgent 3h delivery guaranteedOrder Now
E. E. Cummings, an author known for his various poems and other forms of artwork, wrote numerous works of poetry over a vast amount of subjects. While the subject matter of the poems differ, a few elements of Cummings’ style stays the same in virtually all his poems, some of which is important and some of which is not. The fact that Cummings uses enjambment in his poetry is a stylistic trademark that however annoying its use may be is consistent. Other stylistic trademarks of Cummings’ poetry are that Cummings has a control over the tone of each of his poems and that each of his poems has its theme located near the end of the poem. While these traits that may not be highlighted in most of the analysis of his poems, each does occur quite frequently in his writing.
The poem If, by E. E. Cummings, explores the possibilities of the “if” type questions that are so often asked by those who seek to know why things are not pleasant are they are. Cummings answers the question in the last stanza of each line (“I wouldn’t be I… You wouldn’t be you… We wouldn’t be we”) which contributes a great deal to understanding the theme of the poem – that each of us are the products of all the wrong that has occurred in our lives.
Cummings begins developing his theme by introducing the main literary device of the poem – the use of paradox. Each stanza of the poem follows the pattern of presenting a question to the reader that asks what would happen if a normally unpleasant occurrence is portrayed as a pleasant one instead. The first stanza asks, “If freckles were lovely, and day was night, And measles were nice and a lie warn’t a lie…” and concludes the thought by saying that “Life would be delight, — But things couldn’t go right For in such a sad plight” allowing the reader to see that things would indeed be vastly different from what they are normally seen as. Another vastly relevant line to giving the reader the ability to determine the theme of the poem is the line “Things would seem fair”. Cumming’s use of the line indicates that while things would be fair on the surface something would be occurring that warps what should be held true.
The sky was, by E. E. Cummings, is a poem that describes what the sky is seen as and the effects of technology on nature. At first glance, or without the purposeful separation of the lines, the poem does not seem like a very deep poem, nor is it seen as having a theme that has any meaning at all. However, the separation between both the different lines of the poems and the letters of the individual words themselves give a deeper meaning to the poem. The most notable separation of the poem comes between the words “chocolates” and “under”, where a large gap exists. That gap separates a part of the poem that under normal conditions would be a somewhat fragmented thought of the writer, but under the conditions that are given contain much meaning (“a locomotive spouting violets”). When the knowledge of the separated lines are combined with the title of the poem, it allows one to grasp that Cummings once remembered the sky as a very pleasurable thought but since the past tense is used, the thought that once held dear is now seen as a corrupted by technology (the locomotive).
The major literary device used by Cummings in the sky was is the use of the euphonious qualities of the words that the poem consists of. Each of the words that Cummings chooses to use contains a feeling of happiness and that all is right with the world – something that is conveyed as being Cummings’ feelings about what the sky once was in his memory. At the point where the poem seems more cacophonous is at the point where the narrator mentions the locomotive, a point in the poem where the idea that is given is shifted somewhat to show that there was a change that occurred to the sky and that the change had to do with the locomotive or namely technology in general.
E. E. Cummings shows the human nature against change in the poem my mind is. The beginning section of the poem describes what causes the subtle changes in the narrator’s mind – “which touch and taste and smell and hearing and sight keep hitting and chipping with sharp fatal tools”. The tools that are described as “hitting and chipping” show that the experiences that one faces everyday changes them since each of the tools that are describe are one of the five senses that human beings have. Cummings shows how human nature is against change by saying how the effect of the hitting of the tools, essentially the introduction of new experiences, causes the narrator to partake in “an agony of sensual chisels” where he performs “squirms of chrome and execute strides of cobalt”. The “squirms of chrome and execute strides of cobalt” can be taken simply as pain. To confirm the reader’s thoughts that the poem’s central theme is about change Cummings adds the line “i am cleverly being altered that i slightly am slightly becoming a little different”.
The major literary device that Cummings uses in the poem is the use of tone. Cummings chooses to use a cacophonous tone for this poem unlike the tone in which he used for the poem the sky was. The use of the cacophonous tone allows the reader to further grasp how much the process of change must hurt as it recalls memories of how the reader has undergone change in their life in addition to the harsh sound that emphasizes Cummings’ theme.
E. E. Cummings’ poem a total stranger one black day, when taken literally, is a poem about when two strangers meet and what occurs. According to the poem, a total stranger went and “knocked living the hell out of me”, something that does not occur much between strangers if ever at all. Where the literal meaning of the poem is about two strangers, the poem is actually an allegory about how people can do things that even surprises themselves. The second line of the second stanza of the poem says, “my (as it happened) self was he”, that line gives the major clues towards the allegory of the poem – the true meaning behind what is seen on the surface. The theme of the poem, where beyond just the fact that you can do something that will surprise yourself, is what is said in the third and final stanza of the poem – “but now that fiend and I are such immortal friends the other’s each”. The stanza shows how one can make peace with the qualities that one finds in their life that appear suddenly and at the time of the appearance was seen as a quality that was negative and only harmful to the life of its bearer.
E. E. Cummings’ poem nobody loses all the time is taken from the narration of a character that is recalling the tale of his uncle. In the narrator’s tale, the Uncle is a man who manages to fail in every endeavor in which he is a part of. The story of Uncle Sol tells of how he failed in his farm because chickens came and ate all of his crops and continues by telling how skunks ate all the chickens when Uncle Sol changed his farm. The story of Uncle Sol ends when the narrator talks about how Uncle Sol “imitated” the skunks of his farm by dying and the funeral of Uncle Sol. Where one would see that Uncle Sol lost in every part of his life, the funeral comes as somewhat of a shock for what one would expect for a man who had almost nothing; Uncle Sol’s funeral, due to a friend, was an extravagant funeral where everything was “splendiferous”. The funeral itself shows the theme of the poem of which Cummings chose as the title – that nobody loses all the time.
The major device used in the poem nobody loses all the time is Cummings’ use of repetition. The repetition of “Uncle Sol” in the poem reflects what the first stanza says of Uncle Sol, “Sol who was born a failure…” and each time his name is brought up the thought that Uncle Sol being a failure enters the mind. The only stanza that does not contain “Uncle Sol” is the stanza that talks about Uncle Sol’s funeral – the triumph of the man. That use of repetition allows the image of Uncle Sol being a failure to continue in addition to allowing the one success of his lifetime stand as a more powerful symbol that no matter what you win in something.
Cummings’ work contains stylistic trademarks that are present within all of his poems. Of the five poems, each contained the use of enjambment, the use of tone, and the location of theme at the end of the poem. While those traits were not highlighted here, the reading of any of his poems allows the reader to see that those traits are apparent in his writing. The question that remains from Cummings’ style is: does it come from an inability to write complex themes and poems or a yearning for all to understand his message?