Complex Attitudes of Love in “anyone lived in a pretty how town”
Love, according to E.E. Cummings, is both a natural and consuming, yet ultimately ephemeral sensation. Cummings uses a cyclical structure of the seasons, as well as weather and astronomical patterns symbolic to each season, to demonstrate the natural quality of love, separating its phases into the distinct phases of each year. To depict the consuming nature of love, Cummings uses a variety of imagery, diction, and structure throughout the poem to provide the feeling that love is always present and fundamental to each line—its dominance plays different roles in each season. Lastly, Cummings disguises the ephemerality of love by mentioning it actively during autumn, as opposed to in a dormant or underling fashion in the rest of the poem—this is a structural maneuver.
Of these core concepts, the one most acutely conveyed by any literary device would be the natural quality of love. Cummings lustrously and repeatedly depicts this view through his use of structure, incorporating seasons, weather, astronomical patterns, and feelings associated with particular times of the year. The seasons go through clear changes, and are mentioned along with their astronomical counterparts in nearly every stanza. The poem opens in the season of “spring”(3), and ends with “rain”(36)—a weather pattern synonymous with spring—illustrating a full cycle of the year. Throughout the poem, Cummings uses these natural yearly separations to convey specific ideas that pertain to each segment of “anyone’s” life. During spring, anyone danced and sang, as compared to the dull reaping and sowing of the average townsperson(4-7). In winter, words and phrases like: “died”(25), “buried”(27), “was by was”(28), and “deep by deep”(29) suggest death; the latter two phrases particularly indicate finality or inexorability. Love and happiness correspond to autumn, in which there are mentions of laughter, marriage, and hope. This cyclical...
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