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Analysis and comments on next to of course god america i... (III) by e.e. cummings

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Comment 29 of 389, added on April 11th, 2009 at 3:39 PM.

Cummings is very straightforward in this poem. He doesn’t blind the reader
with emotional interference but still he glorifies the country. Instead, he
blasts the reader with a seemingly meaningless jumble of words. He does so
just to engage the reader, capture his or her attention, and force his or
her brain to begin to think. Cummings leaves out all punctuation except the
question mark at the end. I think he does this just to make the poem
incomprehensible the first time it is read. He makes the last line
comprehensible so that the reader will think that maybe, just maybe, the
poem might make sense. He gives his opinion as straight forward as the
character in his poem can. The reader finds out to who the speaker is in
the last line.
In the first line he is talking about his great his love for America is.
According to the poem, the only love he has greater than America is God.
This is important because it shows that he thinks rationally and honestly
by not saying he has no greater love than America.
In the next part, he is just using politician talk to make it clear who
the speaker is after the reader has read the last line. He makes the
speaker sound important or knowledgeable. One could also argue that he is
making a sarcastic reply to another politicians rant.
Because cummings capitalizes the “H” in he and not the “I” in i, he is
forcing the reader to focus equally on the guy’s character and what he
says. Naturally, we tend to focus more on what the meaning is in writing
than the composition and character of the speaker.
It is very contrasting in of itself. Cumming’s praises the country for
being glorious, but he almost criticizes the soldiers who rush headlong
into war to defend it. He says they think not of honoring their country by
any means but through war and death. I think he is hinting at other, more
peaceful ways to serve America. He doesn’t put down the soldiers because he
calls them “heroic happy dead,” he is just saying they need to think
straighter and more realistically. Cummings is questioning the way we
interpret patriotism and what we consider it to be.
At the end, it says “He spoke. And drank rapidly a glass of water.” This
makes it clearer who the speaker actually is. Because he spoke rapidly and
drank a glass of water, he has got more to say. Who else but politicians
talk rapidly seeming nonsense and always have more to say?

Dimitri from United States
Comment 28 of 389, added on March 16th, 2008 at 2:05 PM.

"America makes prodigious mistakes, America has colossal faults, but one
thing cannot be denied: America is always on the move. She may be going to
Hell, of course, but at least she isn't standing still."

e.e. cummings said the above quote.
I don't mean to be melodramatic (but) this poem couldn't be further away
frompatriotism. The inclusion of 'andsoforth' is indeed (As someone else
mentioned) the poet satirising the superflous spewing of nationalism that
is so typical of (myfellow) americans. That is really only one example, but
i cant be bothered to think of more, so forget about it.

J.A. Garrido from United States
Comment 27 of 389, added on March 9th, 2008 at 1:32 AM.

The poem is satirizing the fact that America is great. But in reality is
very different. one of the ideals of America is lierty or equality, but
they dont have it. He also criticizes the polititions for inaction,
theytend to say things, but never do it. They are repeating the same things
again and again and it becomes meaning les.

kichu from India
Comment 26 of 389, added on January 12th, 2008 at 10:06 PM.

honestly, i feel that this poem has many different and almost opposite-like
ideas. cummings' character praises the fact that America is a glorious
nation and all who reside in America hold great pride in their country.
Soldiers are proud to go fight for what America stands for, for them in
this world. And the thing that this character emphasizes is that these
soldiers of America fight for the beauty of America; the freedom, the
liberty. The soldiers don't even think one bit; to such an extent that they
are ready to face death even when it comes to them. cummings sarcastically
remarks how America has patriotic soldiers representing her freedom,
without thinking because they only have the thought that war glorifies a
nation and "beautifies" the "voice of liberty." This poem is a poem of the
question WHY towards this capitalist train of thinking of patriotism in
these soldiers and people of America. The real question is Why is freedom
fighting when everything should be earned or given in freedom? including
individual worth and thought?

:) this is what i think. i just wrote what came to my mind.

tiki from United States
Comment 25 of 389, added on September 19th, 2007 at 10:34 PM.

@amy this poem is definitely a patriotic poem, just because cummings did
not capitalize america doesn't mean that it is not patriotic. you need to
realize that cummings writes in his own specific style which includes
little to no capitalization, which makes a bigger impact on the reader
because it makes the reader think. and so what if he didn't capitalize
america it doesn't change the intent of the poem, which is mainly about how
people think of america and how people are willing to die for america with
out even a second thought which show a great deal of patriotism.

Comment 24 of 389, added on May 31st, 2007 at 5:46 PM.


JOJO from United States
Comment 23 of 389, added on May 21st, 2007 at 5:58 AM.

At face value, E.E. Cummings’ “next to of course god america i”, impacts
the reader with little to no emotional influence. Instead, the poem
initially impresses its audience by assuming the appearance of,
essentially, an incomprehensible slew of words thrown together without
order or apparent meaning. As is the case for most well written, quality
poetry, however, close reading of “next to of course got america i”,
illustrates the author’s meticulous poetic methodology; in which not a
single syllable lacks explicit purpose in a connotative or denotative
sense. The poet effectively posits the tone and purpose for “next to of
course god america i”, through an, albeit grammatically convoluted, yet
suggestively crafted, seven word title, and by continuing on with the poem
as a satirical dramatization of the conflict between a public speaker’s
empty charade of patriotism, and the audience’s cynical reception of his
speech. The poet achieves the portrayal of this relationship through the
use of various literary devices, imagery, diction, rhyme, and other aural
and visual details throughout.
The speaker dictates the poem in two stanzas, the first being thirteen
lines, and the second only one. The total poem consists of fourteen lines
in combination with a clear rhyme scheme which makes it a sonnet. The
speaker leaves out all punctuation from the first stanza, except one
question mark at the end, to purposefully interfere with the reader’s
ability to comprehend the first stanza on the first read. The lack of
punctuation makes the speaker sound rambling and indefinite, and it makes
the poem’s first thirteen lines look like a random compilation of words.
The second stanza incorporates much more sanity by adding some
grammatically comprehensive punctuation in the form of a single period. The
rambling sound of the speech followed by the coherency exhibited by the
rational, one-lined listener juxtaposes the overall theme, which implies
that the supposed representatives of America are just figure heads chanting
empty, insubstantial lyrics of pretend patriotism from a speechwriters
poisoned ink pen. All the while, the American people are forced to watch
their soldiers, who are the ones fighting for American ideals, and acting
as the true muted voice of liberty, die, and shake their heads as they
suffer from one disappointing, representative inadequacy after

Alex from United States
Comment 22 of 389, added on March 23rd, 2007 at 7:02 PM.

this poem was published in 1926, which is most certainly NOT after World
War II. It IS, however, after World War I. Is this what you meant, Chris
S.? Also, this poem is very comparable to Wilfred Owen's "Dulce et Decorum
Est". They both lament the loss of so many young lives as well as clamor
against the presumption that "it is sweet and fitting to die for one's

"next to of course god america i" is absolutely not a patriotic poem. would
a patriotic poem include a lower-cased "america" in the title?

amy from United States
Comment 21 of 389, added on January 28th, 2007 at 10:56 PM.

Nadia, I really appreciated your comment! I am caught up on the "He" in
the poem's final line and not completely satisfied with the explanation
that He is a politician. Is it significant that He is capitalized while i
is not? Why drink a glass of water? Water has a lot of religious
associations including the forgiveness of sins and washing one's hands of
guilt. Or, perhaps the speaker is drinking water so that he will be able
to continue speaking. The rhetorical question, "shall the voice of liberty
be mute?" is interesting too. Does the speaker see himself as the voice of
liberty? I like the satirical tone, but am really lost on this final

colleen from United States
Comment 20 of 389, added on December 18th, 2006 at 7:59 PM.

I think the whole poem is sarcastic.

First he starts out with "next to of course god america i" The "of course"
suggests that, even though church and state are supposed to be separate,
they are not, and God rules the country.
In the next line he says "land of the pilgriims and so forth". What does
he mean by "and so forth"? Could he be refering to the native americans
and mexican people that were here before us and just kind of got pushed
The inclusion of the two patriotically famous songs could be a mockery of
our superfluous patriotism, later stating that "we should worry in every
language even deafanddumb thy sons acclaim your glorious name by jing by
gee by gosh by gum".
He then ends it with the extremely sarcastic "beautiful... happy dead who
rushed like lions to the roaring slaughter... then shall the voice of
libert be mute?". I kind of think that the last line has a double meaning.
It could mean that the soldier who fought for liberty are now dead, but I
like to think that it is refering to how they had no say in what they did.
The soldiers were ordered to go and die, but had no choice. They were not
allowed to think for themselves, or decide for themselves if what they were
fighting for was right. Since this was published after World War two, he
could be refering to the conscription (draft).

That's my opinion, but no one can really be right.
I'm only 17 after all, so if you don't accept my interpretation, ignore it.

Chris S. from United States

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Information about next to of course god america i... (III)

Poet: e.e. cummings
Poem: next to of course god america i... (III)
Added: Feb 20 2003
Viewed: 902 times
Poem of the Day: Jan 28 2007

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