The poem “anyone lived in a pretty how town” was written by E. E Cummings, one of the most popular poets who was known for his innovative style and structure in writing. People are very fond of Cummings poem because unlike traditional poets, Cummings is rebellious, has his unique choice of words and refuses to follow proper syntax. The theme of this poem is centered around the awareness of time and death that takes place in an average town. The poem consists of an unusual form due to the author’s eccentric usage of capitalization, unusual syntax and punctuation in order to lay emphasis on events that are occurring within the poem.
Cumming’s creates ambiguity throughout the whole poem using non-descriptive pronouns such as anyone, no one, someone, women, men children, etc. Additionally, Cumming uses several literary techniques such as enjambment, alliteration assonance, repetition, etc. , in order to render his thoughts on matters such love, time and death. “Anyone lived in a pretty how town” consists of nine stanzas and is written in an iambic tetrameter that tends to go offbeat after every second or third sentence, additionally with an AABC, AABB rhyme scheme.
Cummings begins off with a very uncommon title about “anyone” who lived n a “how town,” ending it with an assonance. What does the author mean by “how” town? According to the OED, “how” means “Care, anxiety, trouble, sorrow” (“how” Oxford 1), which could depict the lack of care among the townspeople, furthermore “trouble and sorrow” might be related to the theme of life, time and death. The first stanza opens with the title of the poem “anyone lived in a pretty how town,” with the idea that “anyone” represent the individuals that’s abiding in the town.
But why does the author choose “anyone” instead of a specific name? According to the OED, “anyone” means “a person or ersons of any kind; any individual, without distinction or limitation” (“anyone” Oxford 2). Therefore, that author wants to draw attention away from a particular character yet rather indicate the town as a whole. In the following line, the abnormality of the poem begins as the author uses random parentheses to state “with up so floating many bells down. ” The parenthesis perhaps is used as a side note to give the readers a perspective of what the author is trying to say.
Looking at this line, “bells” gives me an image of significant occasions such as weddings and funerals. Looking up the word in the OED, “bells” onnote “The larger kinds are used for giving signals of various import (time, danger, etc. ) to the inhabitants of a town or district” (“bells” Oxford 1a), which can once again be related to the subjects of time and death. As the poem continues, Cummings mentions the seasons “spring summer autumn winter” and a repetition of these seasons are seen in stanzas three and nine.
The rotating repetition of the seasons throughout the poem represents the progression of time. But why does the author use seasons to depict time? Cummings may have used seasons in order to symbolize the natures series n addition to the natural occurring cycle of the human life. In the next line, Cummings reveals his strange usage of syntax and presents the readers with the line “he sang his didn’t he danced his did. ”
The author’s usage of alliteration in this line adds to the oddness of the entire poem. He” in this situation represents “anyone,” similarly, the connotation of “didn’t” might be his conceivable failures and “did” may signify his accomplishments. Although the authors choice of vocabulary remains ambiguous, his complex sentence structures can be used to describe our protagonist “anyone” at some point during the poem. Stanza wo opens with the topic of “Women and men (both little and small) cared for anyone not at all. ” Notice how the word “Women” is that only word that’s capitalized twice throughout the whole poem.
One of the reasons why it could be capitalized is because it falls after a period, another reason could be that Cummings just likes to create complexity and ambiguousness in his poems. When reading the word “little and small” I was caught a bit off-guard as I was presuming it to say “big and small” instead. Although, by saying “little and small,” Cummings is drawing attention to their mindset and way of thinking rather than their physical size. Along with these, their small mindset implies that they only care about themselves and goes ahead about their own life.
Once again Cummings brings back his extraordinary choice of diction in the last line of the stanza as he states, “they sowed their isn’t they reap describing their “isn’t,” the authors uses the word “sow” and “reap” to describe their sameness. When I think of “sow” | picture covering therefore this could symbolize that they were attempting to cover “isn’t;” “isn’t” portrays their wrongs and differences. According to the OED, “reaped” means “To cut, gather (esp. a grain) in this way” (“reaped” Oxford 2). Hence, this connotes that they are trying to gather their “same/” commonness they share.
Cummings states “sun moon stars rain” in the following line, trying to demonstrate the passing of time/lives once again. It’s quite odd that Cummings does use any punctuations to isolate the words. The purpose behind that might have been to indicate that time passes by very quickly and waits for no one. The third stanza, begins with “children guessed (but only a few and down they forgot as up they grew autumn winter spring summer). ” Cummings is trying to paint a picture of the children’s innocence, alongside with their maturity nd forgetfulness that progresses throughout as time passes by.
The progression of time is presented again in a different order to differentiate time in this stanza than the previous. Cummings closes the stanza by introducing us to the second character “noone,” who’s love increases for “anyone” as time advanced. Moreover, Cummings choice of name “noone,” and her love for anyone partakes in a double meaning. The author is exemplifying that noone and anyone are meant for each other but also that the townspeople don’t care about one another. their same. ” In Proceeding to the fourth stanza, the reader can see that Cummings use of syntax keeps getting more bizarre.
Look at the words the author chooses to use, “when my now and tree by leaf. ” These words can be used to describe anyone and noone’s present love. According to the OED, “leaf” means “In various fig. senses, esp. with allusion to growth or thriving” (“leaf” Oxford 1b), thus “tree by leaf” may symbolize their of life and experiences. The author states “she laughed his joy she cried his grief,” where his usage of consonance displays noone’s attachment towards anyone’s happiness and sadness. Cummings brings back ambiguity with the alliteration of words “bird by snow and stir by still.
Since birds are found mostly during warmer seasons and snow is found during winter, this perhaps implies the transition of seasons. Additionally, Cummings finishes the stanza with impression of “anyone’s any” meaning all to noone. Cumming’s now puts “anyone” and “noone” aside and presents us with “somones” and “everyones” their marriage in the fifth stanza. Although it almost seems like Cummings finds this celebration of marriage absurd. Is Cummings fonder of “anyone” and “noone’s” love more than the celebration of marriage? This may be true due to the fact that they “laughed their crying” which practically appears as a joke to
Cummings. Furthermore, this depicts an ordinary a life routine followed by the townspeople as they “did their dance” similar to how “he danced his did” in stanza one. Cummings depicts the regular lifestyle of the townspeople using the words “(sleep wake hope and then) they. ” Yet again the authors uses no punctuations to isolate these words, perhaps to create emphasis on the haste of life. Additionally, Cummings closes off the stanza with “their nevers” which may possibly connote a goodbye/prayer, which can indicate death, therefore “slept their dream” depicts their permanent dream.