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Analysis and comments on Buffalo Bill's by e.e. cummings

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Comment 15 of 445, added on May 29th, 2005 at 10:20 PM.

According to my English teacher, Buffalo Bill's defunct is stylistically
supposed to be read out loud on a single breath. When it is read in this
manner, your breath quite literally dies on the word death, and it gives a
whole new meaning to the poem, because it is not only Buffalo Bill dying,
it's yourself, and the American ideal. S.D., I believe that is why the poem
is written so "un-poetically".

Brenda from United States
Comment 14 of 445, added on April 25th, 2005 at 7:44 PM.

My english teacher made me read this poem, and i kind of like the way that
ee-cummings uses his words to catch your eye and not only your ear. I
think that He's saying that Buffalo Bill was a great hero, but "mr death"
had to come and take him away. that is all....pole vault

Anne from United States
Comment 13 of 445, added on April 24th, 2005 at 6:21 PM.

This is my analysis from this paper im writing for school. No coppying.
Keep in mind im only in 9th grade.

In the poem “Buffalo Bill’s” cummings explores the death of a hero.
Buffalo Bill was a western legend that was famous for being a cowboy,
inventor, and soldier. What cummings expresses in his poetry is that
Buffalo Bill isn’t just dead. He has become defunct, a word that means
obsolete or extinct. Buffalo Bill represents all heroes, and when cummings
says that he is defunct, he means that there is no more use for heroes
anymore. Of course the reader can’t help but notice cumming’s admiration
for Buffalo Bill. He didn’t just ride a horse; he rode a
“…watersmooth-silver stallion.” The next section “…and break
onetwothreefourfive pigeonsjustlikethat” refers to Buffalo Bill’s trick
shooting clay pigeons with a six-shooter. cummings only had five pigeons
because cowboys who often rode horses would only load five bullets, leaving
one empty chamber in case it went off inside the hip holster. The last two
lines of this poem seem to bring the poem to a chilling ending, “how do you
like your blueeyed boy Mister Death” cummings seems to say that death seems
to have a taste for those who are important or notable, like a “blueeyed
boy.” This seems to be the theme of the poem.


Heidi from United States
Comment 12 of 445, added on April 17th, 2005 at 10:38 PM.

The last line:

"how do you like your blueeyed boy
Mister Death"

I always took this as twisting of the old cliche "How do you like your
steak?" That sort of image. I think people often neglect the sarcasm in
cummings' poetry.

James from United States
Comment 11 of 445, added on April 7th, 2005 at 5:20 PM.

Ken Kesey read this poem at a Grateful Dead show in Oct. 1991 speaking
about the death of Bill Graham. Hauntingly beautiful, the last line is
spine tingling. I suggest you seek out the tapes.


Don Berg from United States
Comment 10 of 445, added on March 8th, 2005 at 7:19 PM.

I liked the poem it was really cool.... but chingen todos a su madre
pinches pendejines que estan leyendo poemas comprense una pinche vida no
valen verga ee cummings me la pela me pasa por los huevos...PUTOS

david pemex from Mexico
Comment 9 of 445, added on January 29th, 2005 at 12:40 PM.

To me, it's all about the last line, "...how do you like your blueeyed boy,
Mister Death"----like "death" had coveted this great hero, had stake him
out, shared this iconic vision of the man who could shooting
onetowthreefourfive pigeons justlike that"....so fate takes this hero, and
WE KNOW ALL ALONG---he is only a person, like each of us....so in a sense,
the sucker is death, or the devil or fate. We knew all along that Buffalo
Bill WAS and still IS ('s) VALID, as just a man.

Alan Glazen from United States
Comment 8 of 445, added on December 8th, 2004 at 4:34 PM.

Right off, I have to say that this is one of my favorite poems. My English
teacher in Grade 12 read it and sent chills up and down our spines (mine
anyway). Onetwothreefourfive - why like that? To illustrate how fast he
could shoot clay pigeons. Why five? In the old west they loaded five
shots, with an empty chamber so they couldn't accidently shoot themselves
while riding!

I think Cummings is making a comment on our choice of 'heroes'. On the one
hand, you have the handsome figure who was probably one of the most famous
people of his time. But Cummings doesn't let him die some heroic death.
He simply becomes defunct. Like some machine that has past its useful
life. 'how do you like your blueeyed boy' is a put down I think. Buffalo
Bill is a symbol of evil, of a handsome, talented man who didn't put any of
his talent to real valuable use. In the end, he turns out to be mortal and
simply becomes defunct. So, what do you think Mr. Death - he's really just
another guy just like the rest of us. I think that is what Cummings is
trying to convey. It's funny that for some reason I stumbled into looking
for Buffalo Bill's lyrics today - the same day I was talking to someone
about the search for the 'Greatest Canadian' that has been going on. I
think Buffalo Bill's says a lot about pop culture heroes and the disdain
Cummings had for our choices of heroes. Similarly, right up there with
truly great Canadians are choices that are really totally irrelevant in
that yes they may be talented people, but they are doing things that really
don't amount to a hill of beans.

At the same time though, you read Buffalo Bill's and it's almost impossible
to not get caught up in admiration of the man. He didn't just ride a
horse, it was a 'watersmooth-silver stallion'. He wasn't just a good shot,
he could break onetwothreefourfive pigeons justlikethat

I've never thought about analyzing a poem for 29 years and this is the
first time I've actually posted a comment. So, I'll dedicate it to my
grade 12 English teacher, Miss Lynus. The best teacher I ever had - wish I
had been paying attention at the time. Sorry Miss Lynus, I should have put
your teachings to better use. God bless.

Larry from Canada
Comment 7 of 445, added on November 16th, 2004 at 4:46 AM.

the poem is associated with the legend of buffalo bill who was a character
associated with power and masclunity during the old western days when honor
was real and something which had to be earned. the ways were hard and
involved killing sprees ...respect was associated with power and such is
the legend who can be seen as henchman of death . hence the ironic ending
with a rhetoric question as in "how do u like ur blueeyed boy (bill) ;
mister death"
the henchman of death is now dead himself- kinda like mocking death as if
saying "what u gonna do now?"

jeet from India
Comment 6 of 445, added on November 10th, 2004 at 9:41 PM.

I'm not so sure that I like this poem. It looks like it's a two person
poem, but in all there's nothing that I can see that is poetic about it.
It's like he was rambling. Then that's my opinion. If anyone actually
understands it I would be appreciative if they would share what they feel
the meaning is.

S.D. from United States

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Information about Buffalo Bill's

Poet: e.e. cummings
Poem: Buffalo Bill's
Added: Jan 31 2004
Viewed: 444 times
Poem of the Day: Feb 19 2013

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