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Analysis and comments on when serpents bargain for the right to squirm... (22) by e.e. cummings

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Comment 14 of 14, added on December 5th, 2010 at 6:28 PM.

as a very new fan of e. e. cummings, i have very little i can claim in the
way of expertise in this realm. but i would point out one observation which
struck me while reading this. i believe that there is a great deal of the
poem that concerns the will and motivation behind action. cummings
introduces a number of characters from nature. in each of these scenes, the
character is about to engage in an action which is otherwise be natural,
but which, is hampered through the imposition of some human absurdity.
there is a sense here in which nature is superior to man in that it acts
out of the compulsion of its design rather than the stipulations of its
legal and ideological code. it acts and exists irrespective of all other
orders and institutions.

Samuel Meyer from United States
Comment 13 of 14, added on August 21st, 2010 at 12:05 AM.

actually as far as i am concerned cummings appreciates the animal than
human beings .he conveys the message that unless those things which he
mentioned about in the poem occur human beings are note liable to be called
animal .

jahfar sadiq from India
Comment 12 of 14, added on September 9th, 2009 at 7:38 PM.

It's quite simple. Live your life with good and gracious intentions. Then,
when you die and go to heaven, all shall be revealed. Very simple.

H. Blake McMichen from United States
Comment 11 of 14, added on December 2nd, 2008 at 7:28 PM.

This is the poem that made me fall in love with Cummings. And while many
layers of meaning can certainly be found, I believe the core idea is
elegantly simple. Until we observe in nature the absurd behaviors of man
(which we won't), we cannot truly believe that man is anything but an
animal (which at his heart, he is).

Ryan Pierce from United States
Comment 10 of 14, added on April 7th, 2008 at 4:53 AM.

Two possibilities occurred to me after considering the lines and reading
some of the comments. Either he wants to show the unnatural nature of human
beings by ironically applying human deeds to the most natural elements, or
he is trying to depict something beyond this; Cummings believes that human
beings are currently animals (considering the negative aspects of animals,
of which people often speak). If you have in mind his attempts to be
anything but normal, Cummings seems to believe in the fact that the
devaluation of nature and animals by human beings is not true. WE are the
actual animals people are used to depreciate; WE are those to whom all the
humiliating adjectives must be ascribed. So what cummings says is that if
only everything changes upside down, we can be truly described as unanimal
beings; that is, if nature acts as human beings and mankind acts as nature,
the so-called nice descriptions of human beings, which are preached by
people now and then, can be attributed to us.

Dionysus (S. G.) from Iran
Comment 9 of 14, added on February 14th, 2008 at 12:46 PM.

Yes, like one of the reviewers stated, I too believe that this poem points
to the 'absurdities of man', how out of touch with our true nature we have
become. We have created a world of concepts and separeteness, a world of
illusions. Our dream world is ruled by judgement, self-interest, fear,
paranoia, power struggles... Until man can be more like the way everything
else is and works around us (in its natural, unadultarated form), we will
continue to live in this illusory state. We will be free, spontaneous,
connected to all, and in harmony with our world when we wake up from this
dream and see our beautiful true nature.

Claudia T.
Comment 8 of 14, added on November 15th, 2007 at 2:00 PM.

it may want to show the power that man has gained beside all the changes of
nature that happens n attract our attentions but human behaviour n his
developments would be greater than nature changes.human is developing n
making day after day n the changes r different from the other one while in
nature the changes have become ordinary.

Roya Pourbehi from Iran
Comment 7 of 14, added on October 1st, 2007 at 3:48 PM.

I think it's interesting that Cummings says that man will never be
"unanimal" until nature starts acting like man does. It's odd how man can't
become like nature, and I have to agree with the statement. I just think
it's an interesting point to include here.

Stephanie in high school from United States
Comment 6 of 14, added on November 11th, 2005 at 8:16 PM.

I first read this poem in 1974 while at college. The line: -valleys accuse
their mountains of having altitude- has rung through my head ever since. I
don't know why, but it is haunting. It is, in fact, an amazing image.

Warren Silverman from United States
Comment 5 of 14, added on October 31st, 2005 at 6:18 AM.

i think that in this poem speaker says something about human and society it
refers to the problems and bad things people do in society . i think that
serpent is symbol of bad people in society who do bad things,don't care to
the other people who just care about themselvesand who don't know
love,trust,honesty,kindness,likeness,who don't care to the other people and
don't raise a hand to help them.and thorns,is the other symbole of these
things and ocean is symbole of people who are open minded who undrestand
the ugliness of society but force to be quiet by higher position people in
society thse group of people have emothion,love,feelings but day can't do
any thing for society coz they are not allowed this poem shows animal like
mankind who just think about themselves don't care about recovery of the
society, love....and the usage of word valley is symbole of these open
minded people who protest to people in highest position in society(mountain
is symbole of authorities)becouse of these problems but authorities don't
care coz maybe it's harmfull for them and they just prefer to cheat people
and don't care them.I think by using of unanimal mankind poet try to moke
these bad people in the society who just think about animal like willing
and to get what they want they even distroy the other people and they don't
care about love,;ike,trust,honesty....and they just like animals think
about thie needs like food...they are different from the people who care to
these valuable things andwho are real human being.

parastoo_farrahi from Iran

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Poet: e.e. cummings
Poem: when serpents bargain for the right to squirm... (22)
Added: Feb 20 2003
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