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

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Comment 119 of 939, added on April 19th, 2006 at 5:47 PM.

This poem is awesome! It was really hard to understand at first. I mean
REALLY hard. But I talked to my language teacher about it and she helped me
understand it more. And now, I just keep reading it and reading it and
getting more, and more out of it. He is talking about a town and two people
who were kind of outcasts. But in another way he was talking about the
world, and how we don't notice "anyone" or "noone". I think the poem was
written this way (I mean like, it doesn't really make sense if you read it
and don't think about it) because the world doesn't make sense. I mean, if
somebody "dances his own did", and "sings his own didn't" then we don't
notice him. I think this poem is a good way to look at our life and see how
we are living. THINK ABOUT IT!!

ps....notice that when he says anyone died he says: "anyone died I GUESS"
nobody noticed...THINK ABOUT IT!

Comment 118 of 939, added on April 19th, 2006 at 4:05 PM.

For more meaning, I have named the verses:
mid life

Paul Forquer from United States
Comment 117 of 939, added on April 17th, 2006 at 12:35 PM.

i do not understand this poem....

Cindy from Canada
Comment 116 of 939, added on March 28th, 2006 at 12:34 PM.

the poem is good. it reaches many. it is life.
it is death. thank you mr. cummings.

shannon from United States
Comment 115 of 939, added on March 22nd, 2006 at 2:51 PM.

To make sense of the poem, try replacing anyone and noone with actual
names. For instance, I called anyone Bob and noone Mary. Read the poem
several times for it to make more sense.

Brad from United States
Comment 114 of 939, added on March 14th, 2006 at 9:42 AM.

I love this poem so much that I named my business after it: How Town
Jewelry. I feel that this poem is beautiful and uplifting because if
anyone and noone are special and happy in their bland how town; then
everyone is special in our own how town's. I make jewelry for
everyone(well, girls mostly, so I guess its for noone.) I'll have a website
soon, let me know if you have suggestions.

Rebecca from United States
Comment 113 of 939, added on March 2nd, 2006 at 4:23 PM.

This poem sounds really beautiful, he make the words sound magical- I can't
make any sense of it- but it's one of the best poemes I've ever read! ;-)

Cara from Australia
Comment 112 of 939, 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 939, 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

Emily from United States
Comment 110 of 939, 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

This poem has been commented on more than 10 times. Click below to see the other comments.
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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: 2762 times
Poem of the Day: Oct 27 2000

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