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Analysis and comments on 1(a... (a leaf falls on loneliness) by e.e. cummings

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Comment 80 of 250, added on May 6th, 2008 at 8:08 PM.

One is the loneliest number.

Phillip from United States
Comment 79 of 250, added on October 6th, 2007 at 3:52 PM.

Listen Up! What is all the fuss? This is what's wrong with the world today!
I think the poem was is for all to enjoy, not to cause a fight! Again this
is what's wrong with the world today we always have to fight over
everything learn to "AGREE TO DISAGREE" Hope someone learned something

Greg from United States
Comment 78 of 250, added on May 15th, 2007 at 1:19 AM.

Never so loudly has a leaf fallen.

Sam D. from United States
Comment 77 of 250, added on February 19th, 2007 at 6:42 PM.

This is a response to rr. In all seriousness, thank you for your
interpretation of the poem. It is refreshing to find such a well-thought
out and backed-up interpretation. I am also glad that you recognize that it
is simply your interpretation and nothing more, as of course you know that
none of us are E. E. Cummings and thus that none of us can, according to
you, profess that we have the “correct” interpretation. However, I am
intrigued by the fact that you feel the need to qualify your interpretation
by telling us that you have a Harvard education, as if it makes your
interpretation more valid than others’. I think, and this is simply an
opinion, albeit one shared by many critics of art, that the only thing that
makes one interpretation more valid than another is how well it is backed
up by the text. This does, in fact, as I have said, make yours an extremely
good interpretation, but has nothing to do with Harvard. Also, it surprises
me that someone as educated as yourself (though perhaps the tinge of
self-centeredness should have tipped me off) would say “That is much of
what cummings is trying to say” as if you have any idea what Cummings
intended. In fact, your comment that the only meaning of a poem is what the
author intended renders all of what we say useless. Sure, your
interpretation is what Cummings might have intended to say, but he also
might have intended the poem as a simple statement that a leaf is falling
and looks lonely, nothing more. We, the audience, can never know as we are
not E. E. Cummings. If meaning stems solely from the author, there is no
use in attempting to interpret a poem. As I have said, I think that a
poem’s meaning should be based on what the audience can back up using the
poem itself, not on what we think an author may or may not have meant.

In ending, two things. First, you should know, before styling your name
after an author, that Cummings himself wrote his name with capital letters
and correct punctuation. Second, I dearly hope that both of your comments
were meant not as condescension but as humor. I feel that this is a
reasonable hope, as you seem to have jokingly copied Cummings’ name and
educational background. Remember, though, that sarcasm is difficult to pick
up in text form. You have clearly offended several people and should be
careful next time to make your jokes more apparent. Sarcasm is funnier if
the reader can tell that it’s there. If you truly mean what you say, I am
sorry. I am sure you will interpret that as an apology for something I have
done or said. Feel free to do so, but know that, as I am the author, your
interpretation will be completely wrong.

Lastly, my own thoughts on the poem. I think the poem is actually correctly
written with an l (letter) not a 1 (number). I have a book of collected E.
E. Cummings poems which uses the letter l, and I trust it to reprint poetry
correctly. It would fit better with the continuity of the poem as well.
However, I also think, though it was probably meant as a letter, it was
written to echo the number one, since this is repeated throughout the poem.
I like the interpretation that the poem symbolizes at some point an ending
of "two" or a beginning of "one." This seems to echo a leaf beginning as a
part of a tree (the leaf and the tree being two) and then falling, becoming
one, alone, in the air. I also see some hope at the end, as perhaps
loneliness (or "I-ness," which suggests instead a concept and awareness of
oneself as separate from the masses) is perhaps not a bad thing. The leaf
changes from one leaf among thousands to an object of beauty, floating
alone through the air.

I apologize for writing so much. I hope it was, at least in part, useful.

Stephanie from United States
Comment 76 of 250, added on January 28th, 2007 at 8:57 PM.

I agree with rr that the poem's central theme hinges on the juxtaposition
of singularity and duplicity. Again, the pairing of letters (particularly
the two ls in the middle of the poem), the parentheses, the possible
layering of words, and even the number at the beginning of the poem (where
there's a 1, a 2 is sure to follow) all support the unexpected theme of
two-ness in this poem. The fact that there are multiple readings of the
word (loneliness, 1-liness, oneliness, I-ness) is ironic in that the poem,
ostensibly about the notion of singularity, lacks a singular
interpretation. The poem, like the individual, is neither as simple nor as
lonely as it seems. Furthermore, the individual, like the poem, can only
be defined as it relates to others. So, while not every interpretation is
equal, interaction with a reader is necessary to the formation of meaning.
Additionally, this is a poem about life and death. The leaf is an obvious
representation of death, while the words “onliness” and “I-ness” assert the
importance of existence (life). In addition, cummings gives the leaf
action: It falls. It is on a journey toward death (in other words, life).
The author essentially tells us, “an image of death imposes itself on my
being,” yet, there is hope in this poem too. Being alone at least involves
being, and dying implies having lived.

colleen from United States
Comment 75 of 250, added on January 28th, 2007 at 1:28 AM.

i would love to read a novel written by e. e. cummings.

adina from United States
Comment 74 of 250, added on April 29th, 2006 at 6:09 PM.

rr duffings-

You said, "Those of you who think you know it all are particularly annoying
to those of us who do."

I should hope you take this lesson you shared very personally, as I believe
it applies to you as much as it does anyone else, if not more. To follow
that up, pointing out a minor grammatical mistake in Brian's "critic" does
nothing but point out that you dislike his point of view, and that you will
do anything to bring him down a level below you. In fact, if you insist on
being so nitpicky, I might point out your misspelling of "critique". While
I believe the importance of grammar is key in helping readers more clearly
address your point, it does not invalidate ones argument, especially in
on-line discussions where grammar and spelling might not be at the top of
one's priority list. Likewise, if we judged one on simply one's usage of
grammar, than we could call E.E. Cummings an idiot, as many of his poems
follow no grammatical plan whatsoever; and almost never does he capitalize
beginnings of sentences or finish them with a period.

On the matter of opinions, I feel I would like to add my own in the
different, but valid mix. I believe that a reader can interpret each poem
in their own way. There is no conventionally 'wrong' answer to a poem.
However, I believe anyone who interprets a poem in an 'unconventional'
manner should be prepared to back it up, or explain how it is that they
interpreted it the way that they did. If one fails to explain themselves
logically, with references from the text itself, then this point of view
can be dismissed. However, if one can in fact explain what they personally
got out of the poem, even if nobody else agrees with them, then more power
to them. This is how poetry should work. Thank you for allowing me to share
my thoughts as well.

Kyle from United States
Comment 73 of 250, added on April 20th, 2006 at 2:55 PM.

No other leaf ever made so much noise, like rrduffings does, or fell so
noiselessly, like ee cummings does.

zoilo from United States
Comment 72 of 250, added on April 18th, 2006 at 9:47 PM.

We studied this poem in English. The poem actually reads "A leaf falls in
loneliness." It symbolizes loneliness as a leaf falling from a tree; it is
disconnected, lonely. The pattern that the letters fall in looks like the
pattern a leaf would fall in, swaying left and right through the air. e. e.
cummings also puts the word "one", which is part of "loneliness," and
writes the l's alone, which look like ones. (1(one) looks like l(the letter
L)) You have to really think about cumming's poems to understand their true

Bonnie from United States
Comment 71 of 250, added on April 5th, 2006 at 8:48 PM.

poetry isnt supposed to be interpreted one way or the other. it's a way of
expressing feelings through words; in this case probably a feeling of
loneliness. poetry is an art form much like a song, just without music.
everybody just take the sticks out of your arses and learn to live with
other people's point of view about ONE POEM.

Palms from United States

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Information about 1(a... (a leaf falls on loneliness)

Poet: e.e. cummings
Poem: 1(a... (a leaf falls on loneliness)
Added: Feb 20 2003
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