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Analysis and comments on my sweet old etcetera... (X) by e.e. cummings

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Comment 14 of 34, added on September 12th, 2013 at 2:23 PM.
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Comment 13 of 34, added on September 6th, 2013 at 11:54 PM.
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Comment 12 of 34, added on March 2nd, 2013 at 12:58 AM.
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Comment 11 of 34, added on December 31st, 2008 at 11:34 AM.

I read somewhere the cummings doesn't like to have his poems interpreted
too heavily.. For me, etcetra suggest that everything is just
inconsequential, everyone is blabbering about what the war is supposed to
be, and all he can think about is daydreaming about "your etcetra"

Its kind of a sweet innocent poem.. there is a war going on and all but he
is just a teenager... all he is thinking about is his girl and how his
family is a constant nuisance.

Jason
Comment 10 of 34, added on April 21st, 2007 at 11:31 PM.

the soldier is in the middle of combat dying and etcetra is every time the
soldier starts to pass out from dying hence the subject change

Riley Gallagher from United States
Comment 9 of 34, added on December 26th, 2006 at 4:44 PM.

This is plain, if not simple, satire. And the last Etcetera, referring as
it does to the vagina, is comparing the good that is sex against the evil
that is war. EEC was a man ahead of his time...

Peter from United Kingdom
Comment 8 of 34, added on January 17th, 2006 at 3:29 AM.

My interpretation looking at the sound and the words and the scenario is:
1. Etcetera is the sound of detonations, interrupting his thoughts. The
last one kills him (thats why itīs written in capital letters), while
thinking about his greatest solace.
Very sorrowfull. War does not only cause fear and death, but also
disintegration of the thoughts.

Thomas Sieber from Germany
Comment 7 of 34, added on September 24th, 2005 at 8:20 PM.

does no one else see the blatant humor in the tone of this poem, especially
the last stanza? this isn't a totally serious poem... cummings forces us
(well, maybe not everyone noticed i guess) to mentally replace the last
"Etcetera" with a word of our choosing, and he's talking about body parts -
he's obviously evoking his lover's nakedness as being what the protagonist
looks forward to most.

Eddy from United States
Comment 6 of 34, added on July 12th, 2005 at 11:29 AM.

He's mocking the fervent support of those who aren't going to war for the
war, that they can believe in it so strongly yet they aren't the ones
risking their necks for all this freedom they believe in. His aunt acts as
if she knows exactly why the war is happening and I'm sure she feels she
knows which side is right (and Lord knows if anyone knows what World War I
was really about and who was right anyway). His mother and father want to
see him die bravely in battle and the father says how much he wishes he
could as well, but sadly (and conveniently) he can't make the sacrifice
(but he would if he could!).

But own hero is the one actually on the lines, risking his life, and he
knows what he thinks is most important; his love. He has no illusions about
the fairy tale of war and all he wants is to see his love again.

ConqueringId from United States
Comment 5 of 34, added on June 15th, 2005 at 8:04 AM.

Many readers are surprised when they learn that cummings depended on rhyme
and repetition in many of his works. Although hidden in this poem, the
rhymes: war, for, more (beginning line, internal, and end line are seamed
invisibly into the lines). The repetition of the word: etcetera (following
a lead begun by Whitman)replaces rhyme on lines 1,12(twice),and 14. In line
15 rhyme returns: course(internal)and: hoarse (internal line 16). In line
3: could (internal) and line 14: would (internal) and line 18: could
(beginning line rhyme), cummings uses repetition and rhyme with words that
do not stand out. To distract the reader from his love of rhyme and
highlight his love for repetition he uses ()'s line 8: hundreds line 9: (
and--then line 10: hundreds), he futher breaks lines with the word:et line
20; cetera line 21; line 22: (dreaming,{first use of punctuation}Why?
Setting us up for the punch line? Line 23: et (repetition or rhyme?) line
cetera, of {final use of punctuation and use of the word: of (as repetition
going back to line: 10 and picked up again in line: 26}. First use of
capitalization is: Your (line 25) and last use: Etcetera) {punch line
complete--poet exits the stage strong as the best actors do)...

rthomas from United States

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Information about my sweet old etcetera... (X)

Poet: e.e. cummings
Poem: my sweet old etcetera... (X)
Added: Feb 20 2003
Viewed: 45781 times
Poem of the Day: Jan 23 2010


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