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Comment 68 of 208, added on March 31st, 2006 at 1:45 PM.
Brian, Brian, Brian. I quote, "These forms of criticism do not give a
reader free reign to 'invent' their [sic] own interpretation." The
substance of that line is the singular thing about which you and I agree.
It needs to be said, however, that it is difficult to put much faith in a
critic's critic who is conspicuously ignorant of grammatical
considerations. How does " a reader" agree with "their"? Try his or her.
Your statement that the "author is not entirely lost" is horrific and
revealing. By the way, thank you for the amateur,and amusingly
condescending lesson on the various types of criticism. I'm surprised you
didn't pay the usual homage to the Deconstructionist School.
Brian, you are a pseudointellectual. I desperately hope you are not
teaching. Cab, you, on the other hand, are unpretentious and clearly
Finally, to that moron who thinks I am behaving in a holier than thou
manner (and to Brian),I have this to say: Those of you who think you know
it all are particularly annoying to those of us who do.
from United States
Comment 67 of 208, added on March 14th, 2006 at 1:28 PM.
OK... rr's reading is not wrong. In fact, it is a fine example of one way
to read a poem. However, to say that a poem can only mean what the author
intended is, in my opinion and the opinion of other academics, a farce.
There are several schools of literary criticism. rr obviously falls into
the "genetic" category, wherein all that a document is, can only be
attributed to authorial intent. This is actually a dated, albeit still
mildly popular, academic view. "New criticisim" and "subjectivism", on the
other hand allow for alternate interpretations. These forms of criticism
do not give a reader free reign to "invent" their own interpretation, but
rather profess that a text is a living thing that will allow for multiple
interpretations that do not hinge on the lynchpin of authorial intent.
Rather, these forms of criticism explore the text as an autonomous unit.
The author is not entirely lost, but the author is only one contributing
factor to the "meaning" of a work. These critics focus on language as a
vehicle and understand that sometimes an individual can intend to say one
thing, but inadvertently touch on another meaning that was unintended.
There are many other schools of literary criticism that I will not take the
time to list here. But it is important to note that most of us fall mostly
into one category, but are influenced by others. Assuming that rr is
Harvard educated (and I have no reason to doubt the assertion) his
statements are highly irresponsible from an academic point of view.
from United States
Comment 66 of 208, added on March 2nd, 2006 at 4:18 PM.
the way this poem is written is new to me. i have never seen it before but
when i read it over it makes alot more sense. the shape of the words
describes how 'a leaf falls on loneliness'.... it doesn't fall straight
down to the ground.. the wind picks it back up and it floats up and down
before touching the earth, as do the words.
Jacinta from Australia
Comment 65 of 208, added on February 26th, 2006 at 1:48 PM.
I have been struggling with translation and teaching translation to 9th
graders...I think that what rr states about this poem is sound and NOT
elitist. Thank you rr duffings for your imput...
cab from United States
Comment 64 of 208, added on February 26th, 2006 at 9:47 AM.
to me...the poem was saying..A leaf falls one in loneliness...when a leaf
falls from a tree..it falls straight down..at the bottom before it hits
..its tossed up..just a bit..at the trunk of the tree. Just like the
poem..it grabs back up in the words to grab another part of it..before it
settles to the ground.
from United Kingdom
Comment 63 of 208, added on February 21st, 2006 at 7:15 PM.
Is it just me or does "rr duffings" think he is better than us?
Comment 62 of 208, added on February 16th, 2006 at 1:48 PM.
You are about to receive a fairly thorough analysis. I'm compelled to do
this because I've read too much drivel on this site. By the way, a poem
does not mean what YOU think it means. Some C average, idiot English
teacher taught you that. It means what the poet intended it to mean. It is
only slightly tempered by what you, the highly questionable reader and
loose cannon of epic proportions, brings to the table. Fellow cannons, let
Parentheses occur in pairs. The beginning and end of the relationship are
graphically suggested by the positioning of the parentheses. It is no
accident that 2 letters (a couple) are paired as the leaf falls until the
word "one" shockingly appears. It's over. Notice how the "l" following
"one" looks hauntingly like a person standing totally alone.
Why then, is "iness" so large a word when juxtaposed with all the other
words in the poem? I'll offer that "iness" is I-ness. The state of being
I ..... the very alone individual.
We have thus progressed from 1/2 parentheses + "a" (one person beginning to
combine with another?) to the other 1/2 parentheses + "s" (one person
nearing the end, starting to finish? to disengage?) and winding up outside
the parentheses of the relationship quite existentially alone .....
returning, as it were, to I-ness.
LOOK at the poem. That is much of what cummings is trying to say.
Loneliness is "one-liness."
I have a Harvard education and entirely too much tIme on my hands. I hope
this has amused you.
rr duffings from United States
Comment 61 of 208, added on February 5th, 2006 at 9:32 PM.
This poem is very intriguing, though it might be a bit confusing the first
time you read it, especially if you haven't seen a poem with such form
beforehand. I love how Cummings went outside the box in the sense of
conventional means of writing poetry. The structure of the poem is
fascinating and I love how he used the structure to amplify the effects. As
many have pointed it out already, the way he's written the poem actually
does correspond to the pattern of a falling leaf. Instead of just reading
the words in a straight line, Cummings has provided a visual means of
impact as well. As for the interpretation of the first character, I agree
that it can be both a number 1 and a letter l. The 1 symbolizes the one
leaf, and the l is the first letter of the word "loneliness".
Truly amazing poem in my books. :)
Comment 60 of 208, added on January 27th, 2006 at 10:17 AM.
Loneliness is momentarily interrupted by the falling of a leaf.
Marel from Argentina
Comment 59 of 208, added on January 25th, 2006 at 10:23 PM.
I read this poem last year in American Literature class and I love it. I
love how the word "loneliness" is broken up.. and I remember noticing the
"ONE" by itself and it really makes the whole mood more apparent. I never
knew that one bit about the "1" and "l" and how it's meant to be both.
This poem has been commented on more than 10 times. Click below to see the other comments.
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