Pretty How Town

1519 Words7 Pages
“Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit." EE Cummings believed in himself and took enormous risks in a period where that was not common. In the early 19th century, tradition and habit were a big part of people’s everyday lives. Literature and poetry were huge parts of this too. But what happens when someone comes around and changes all of this? That is what happened when EE Cummings started publishing his own unique variety of poetry in the 1940s and 50s. Cummings’ poems like “anyone lived in a pretty how town” challenged the ideas of grammar with their lack of punctuation. After the public got over the initial shock of what Cummings was doing with his…show more content…
Once the reader figures out that anyone and noone are actually people, the main “plotline” of the poem becomes apparent. While that explains most of the poem, there is still much to be looked into. David R. Clark looks at the poem as two stanza units. The first two stanzas look at the relationship between the townspeople and anyone. Clark says, “The first two stanzas contrast singing and dancing ‘anyone’ with the men and women of the town.”(qtd. in On “anyone lived in a pretty how town”). The third and fourth stanzas bring in noone and the children. Clark mentions the “New Testament idea that children are closer to innocence and perceive spiritual truths more directly than adults.” (qtd. in On “anyone lived in a pretty how town”). Stanzas five and six look at how the lives of the men and women and how the children grow up and take on the monotonous lives of their parents. In stanzas seven and eight, anyone and noone die; and in nine, life continues as it was before. Theo Steinmann looks at how Cummings “associates a natural phenomenon characterizing the particular season on the sensuous level of human experience so that one may stand emblematically for the other: sun -summer; moon -autumn; stars -winter; rain -spring.” (qtd. in On “anyone lived in a pretty how town”). Steinmann also looks at the “recurrence of birth, death, and decline in the movement of the bells and seasons” (qtd. in On “anyone lived in a pretty how town”). Nell Nixon takes a look at the “important structuring devices...refrains and repeated grammatical patterns” (qtd. in On “anyone lived in a pretty how town”). Nixon looks at how the “‘x by x’ pattern...changes to ‘x by y’”(qtd. in On “anyone lived in a pretty how town”). In the poem, Cummings starts with things like “more by more” and “little by little” but they change to
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