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Analysis and comments on anyone lived in a pretty how town by e.e. cummings

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Comment 112 of 872, added on March 2nd, 2006 at 12:01 AM.

what is with everyone capitalizing EE! Do you know nothing about the man?,
he didn't capitalize anything, so please make it e.e cummings!

Brit from Canada
Comment 111 of 872, added on February 27th, 2006 at 11:20 AM.

I think that these is you best poem that I have ever read in my hole life.
I think that you are have good poet and you have a lot to look forwards
too.

Emily from United States
Comment 110 of 872, added on February 25th, 2006 at 7:34 PM.

Here is what I thought of the poem after reading and studying it. It is not
so much an analysis of the poem, but an analysis of the devices used to
convey the thesis of the poem.

E. E. Cummings presents his views about life and how the individual is able
to create more opportunities in life by pushing boundaries than if he were
to conform to the demands of society by using sequential diction in an
informal sentence structure through a weary tone.
The weary tone gives the impression that the narrator has been through many
difficult situations and made hard decisions. The tone makes it seem that
the narrator has gained quite a bit of experience by living through much of
life. With “they sowed their isn’t they reaped their same…reaped their
sowing and went their came,” it gives the audience a feeling that the
people have been working and gaining experience for a long time. In
reality, the sowing and reaping process of crops takes an entire year. The
narrator alludes to this fact with the “anyone” and “noone” sowing and
reaping to show that they have been through hardships together and for a
long time that in fact extends towards many years. Much of this is derived
from the aphorism, “One reaps what they sow.” The tone emphasizes the
belief that one should be able to make their own decisions; they should be
able to live their life just as they like it.
E. E. Cummings’ sequential diction in an informal sentence structure plays
a major role in the understanding of the poem. The entire poem is
constructed based on the informal order of the diction. He uses what is
commonly considered a "verb" as a proper noun, or may make an adjective a
conjunction, but usually the meaning behind the words and the poem is
clear. The plot of "Anyone Lived in a Pretty How Town" is simple, but it is
in the subtle language choices that this poem is understandable. “Anyone
Lived in a Pretty How Town" tells the story of anyone. The name has a
double meaning; anyone could be anyone in the dictionary definition sense,
and could be seen as one person, reinforcing the theme of isolation the
independent individual has from the rest of society. The events all occur
in a "pretty how town". "Pretty" connotes a false appearance, describing
the superficiality of the town's inhabitants. "How", an adverb, is used as
an adjective here. It is describing the extent of the town's prettiness,
but a better reason is that it describes the routine-like schedule of the
town's activities, since "how" also means "in a method or manner".
The similar words continue "(with up so floating many bells down)". This
line occurs again later in the poem, and its function is to signify the
passing of time. The next line is an ordered list of the seasons, also
symbolizing the passing of time, describing anyone's activities as
occurring continuously. The activities are grouped as failures (his didn't)
and his successes (his did). Regardless of the outcome, anyone is singing
and dancing “happily.” The women and men are described as "little and
small", referring not to their physical size but their capacity and
willingness to explore new dimensions. The townspeople did not care for the
individual named anyone, nor do they care for any of each other. They do
not attempt anything (sowed their isn't) outside their known habits (they
reaped their same). The list of “sun moon stars rain” signifies the fact
that the townspeople never change their standardized routines even when
other things do.
Cummings also embeds symbolism in several sections of his poem. He views
children as innocent, and because of their innocence, can see the love
noone has for anyone's individuality. Again, noone's name has a double
meaning, expressing the degree of noone's love ("more by more") as well as
anyone's intense isolation from the rest of society. The children's ability
to see this love fades with the passing of time as they get older, and it
is interesting to note that the list of seasons this time starts with
autumn. Autumn leads into winter, which is often a symbol of death and
sleep. The seasons describing anyone started with spring, which is a symbol
of rebirth and change, characteristic of his personality. Noone and anyone
live spontaneously for the present ("when by now"), gaining large advances
from small things (tree by leaf). Cummings considers risks as tiny compared
to the possibilities resulting from wanting to achieve more. "Tree by leaf"
could also be referring to parts as the sum of a whole, suggesting the
depth of anyone and noone's shared experiences. Noone takes part in all of
anyone's activities, laughing and crying with him. She does this through
all circumstances. The symbols bird and snow describe the seasons as
opposed to an obvious list, contrasting anyone's abstract creativity with
society's literal inflexibility. "Stir by still" illustrates rest and
motion, but the "by" implies that even at rest, the couple was moving.
"Anyone's any was all to her" explains how much noone loved everything
about anyone, as well as reiterating the isolation motif.
The narrator tells us of anyone's death with a resigned position. He knows
that this event will not change the townspeople. It also evokes the
unconcern the townspeople have for anyone, how they allow events to merely
pass by. The double meaning of "noone" is used again to display this
detachment ("noone stooped to kiss his face"). Anyone and noone are buried
together, their physical bodies returning to dust ("earth by april"), but
they become part of a shared dream ("dream their sleep"). The townspeople
take no notice of this and continue their fruitless cycle. When they die,
they achieve nothing ("reaped their sowing", when they sowed nothing in the
second stanza). They merely become dust and disappear forever ("went their
came"), as opposed to anyone and noone, who achieve immortality, much like
the eternal sun, moon, and stars. There are very few breaks in the poem:
two periods, each occurring before "Women and men". This is a disruption in
the poem, signifying the townspeople as a fault in the order of the
universe, and anyone and noone being involved in it, blending in. The poem
does not begin with a capitalized letter, nor does not end with a period,
showing that the cycle begins where it left off.
E. E. Cummings shows us how society is not willing to acknowledge
differences. He wants people to question traditions, and to understand them
for their true intent. He is challenging anyone, literally, to push the
boundaries of success so that we may achieve our dreams.

Brian from United States
Comment 109 of 872, added on February 20th, 2006 at 2:18 PM.

Who is the anyone? Also, why does EE use bells? Those are the two things
that I couldn't figure out.

bob from United States
Comment 108 of 872, added on February 20th, 2006 at 10:06 AM.

I think we have to look beyond the supposed aesthetic to the literal. The
poem is about life and death. The line "up so floating many bells down"
could simply refer to the soul floating up as the bells ring while the body
goes down into the grave. That's what's so great about the poem. It's open
to interpretation, and there are so many ways you can look at it. In fact,
that's what's so great about poetry. It becomes intensely and uniquely
personal to every one who reads it. So just read it and enjoy it. If you
don't like a poem, move on. There's one out there with your name on it. And
chances are it was written by e.e. cummings.

J.B.Lee from United States
Comment 107 of 872, added on February 19th, 2006 at 11:05 PM.

To Pan!k:

I agree that some authors who are "classic" are far overrated, and honestly
sometimes I have no idea how they came to be considered so. However, you
are contradicting yourself. E.E. Cummings IS writing how he feels, whether
romantically, politically, or what have you. But like a true artist, he is
putting it into different [if you will, his OWN] terms rather than
blatantly talking about it in bland and journalistic ways. He is being
creative, not devious and "encoding" his message like some spy, as
you accuse others of thinking.

And if, as you say, he's "just writing how he feels," then what would you
say he's feeling? Without analysis, how could anyone decifer what is going
on?

Try to think of it in terms of paintings or drawings, some other form of
artistic expression. If everyone simply painted exactly what they saw or
felt at face value, paintings would get boring very quickly. Picasso, for
example, was a beautiful artist who could paint photographic likenesses,
yet instead chose to paint very complex messages in a different way.

And if you disagree with that, I think you should research your opinion a
bit more before you post it in fairly ineloquent terms.

And indeed, if poetry has no visible fruits, then there is hardly reason to
keep art, theater, music, and other forms of self expression around as
well. I suppose that is why our country's school programs are cutting their
budgets exponentially on programs that support such things. It's a shame.

It would be appreciated, I think, if you would stop making face-values
assumptions about other people and poetry, not to mention asinine and
juvenile insults, and next time contribute a far better founded--and
worded--arguement.

Jesse from United States
Comment 106 of 872, added on February 10th, 2006 at 7:58 PM.

You all sit here pretending that EE had some great reason behind his
writings, as if he over analyzed his own work to convey a super secret
hidden message! Has the thouhgt ever crossed that he wrote what he felt at
the time, which is probably what none of you think it is about. I'm not
saying I know the answers, I'm just saying that analyzing poetry has no
fruits. It is also humorous to me that ya'll are saying that you completely
agree with the supposed anti-conformity message he is trying to convey, yet
you live your lives at work with your Starbucks... It's time to wake up...
if you aren't already in a coma

Pan!k from United States
Comment 105 of 872, added on January 25th, 2006 at 1:57 PM.

good poem its good bye bye

jennifer baena from United States
Comment 104 of 872, added on January 18th, 2006 at 12:19 PM.

I don't think of this as being about conformity so much as showing the
difference between aspirations and the reality.

We all want to be somebody special, a unique snowflake. And the mystery of
love is that to that one other person, we ARE that someone special, even
though to everyone else, we are nobody and everyone.

Most people in the world don't know me, and most of those who have met me
probably have forgotten me. And of those who haven't forgotten, a fair
portion probably think I'm a bit wierd, if they think of me at all. Is
that a reason for me to despair? I don't really think so. That's just how
people work.

And small towns are like this, full of people who think that their town is
the greatest, when really, it's quite ordinary. But that's really the same
relationship, isn't it. To them, it IS the greatest. These two thoughts to
me are behind "up so floating many bells down".

The poem just sounds really wonderful, by the way.

Doctor Jay
Comment 103 of 872, added on January 12th, 2006 at 11:03 PM.

All I can say is WOW! This poem is Awesome! Funny I see all of us somehow
or another living in this Pretty How Town.. It's called life. Thank You EE
for this great work.

Cathy from United States

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Information about anyone lived in a pretty how town

Poet: e.e. cummings
Poem: anyone lived in a pretty how town
Added: Jan 31 2004
Viewed: 10 times
Poem of the Day: Oct 27 2000


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