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Analysis and comments on i sing of Olaf glad and big by e.e. cummings

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Comment 18 of 88, added on April 6th, 2006 at 7:41 PM.

To return the discussion to the serious--the Blonde in the last line does
not imply courage---the Brave reference does that. In graduate school we
discussed this poem at length and had one of the foremost cummings scholars
in the country come in to have a seminar with us on his poetry. The Blonde
is more of an implication of 1st generation immigration---Olaf here chasing
the American dream in his adopted country, yet meeting the disaster
described in the poem. Olaf being more directly pure--aligned to Aryan
type roots than probably the same people who were torturing him, but whose
blue eyes were handed down through several generations of mixing, and
diluting the purity of their roots. I have never forgotten the seminar to
this day, or those comments aobut the last line of Olaf. I wrote my thesis
on cummings and spent 10 pages in this poem alone---one of his most vivid
and powerful.

Now And Then Books from United States
Comment 17 of 88, added on March 15th, 2006 at 11:03 AM.

melissa, your comments just perpetuate the stereotype that all scandinavian
men are hung like horses and I thank you.

Jan PrÝbst
President
Swedish Endowment for World Piece

Jan from Sweden
Comment 16 of 88, added on February 19th, 2006 at 3:03 PM.

I cant beilve nobdy has commented about olafs large penis. its massive, and
he likes to pleasure himself when he is at war.

melissa cristofaro from United Kingdom
Comment 15 of 88, added on November 26th, 2005 at 11:55 PM.

"bowdlerized" refers to a guy, Bowdler, who edited all the nuaghty bits out
of Shakespeare in the earlier 19th century.

Also, the beauty of poetry and literature in general is that it has
universal application. Regardless of whether or not cummings wrote this
poem specifiacally about Nazism (specifiaclly it is about a person he knew,
but it was written in the years leading up to the outbreak of WWII [37 i
think]) it is still completely applicable to a consideration of that
movement.

Sandy from Canada
Comment 14 of 88, added on November 11th, 2005 at 8:24 AM.

While "all kind of officers" are encouraging the firstclassprivates to do
that, I always took it as literal; not an analogy for sexual assault, but
torture through the application of red-hot knives. You *could* make an
argument for sexual connotations there--after all, he's also on his knes,
or "what were once knees", but I'd expect cummings to use a more...
forward? ...word than "tease", if that were the case.

Frances from Canada
Comment 13 of 88, added on November 6th, 2005 at 1:38 AM.

I'm suprised no one has commented on the sexual connetation of the lines:
"and egged the firstclassprivates on
his rectum wickedly to tease
by means of skilfully applied
bayonets roasted hot with heat--"

It degrades the 'firstclassprivates' and enforces the image of Olaf as
being virtuous.


Matthew from Australia
Comment 12 of 88, added on October 2nd, 2005 at 5:31 PM.

Yeah, though I'm unsure of the etymology of the word "bowdlerized,"
cummings did have the curse words in his original draft. They're important
too....the pure vulgarity of the curses in the poem is cummings' way of
peripherally showing the vulgarity of the content of the poem. It's almost
like a subconscious reminder of how horrible war was.

At least....that's what we learned in English about this poem ^.^

TJN from United States
Comment 11 of 88, added on April 25th, 2005 at 11:33 AM.

I had always thought that the curse words in this poem were abbreviated:

"i will not kiss your f.ing flag"
and
"there is some s. I will not eat"

I'm sure that's the way I read it originally, and I figured that was the
way cummings wrote it. But did I just have a bowdlerized edition?

I agree with the commenters above about "blue eyed" and "blonde"
representing "pure" and "all-american" (though it is interesting that the
same traits are stereotypically Aryan). However, "Olaf" being obviously a
Scandanavian name, it may also have been simple literal description. Not
that he only meant to describe--just that it works on several levels. The
"more blond than you" line esp. implies Olaf was in many ways braver and
purer than either the author or his reader.

Very relevant today.

scottstandridge from United States
Comment 10 of 88, added on April 24th, 2005 at 3:51 PM.

the recruitment posters for WWI often depicted blonde-haired, blue-eyed
men. also, blonde hair and blue eyes can be seen as pure, and America wants
to think of the officers/army men as pure.

mei from United States
Comment 9 of 88, added on January 17th, 2005 at 9:41 PM.

Just one observation. Note that cummings uses imagery suggesting Nazi
Germany. The blue eyes, the blond hair, doesn't this suggest the aryan
culture? What do you think he means by this?

Kim Offenburger from United States

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Information about i sing of Olaf glad and big

Poet: e.e. cummings
Poem: i sing of Olaf glad and big
Added: Jan 31 2004
Viewed: 702 times
Poem of the Day: Jul 15 2002


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