Honors LAL I
11 May 2012
Edward Estlin Cummings also known as ee cummings is one of the most famous poets America has ever known. Born in Massachusetts in, this writer and painter formed a very unique style through his poetry. Cummings is famous because of his complex thoughts portrayed in his pieces. Often times Cummings lures in and distracts his readers by beginning with topics such as society or children, but as the poem progresses they take a turn into a more serious tone just like in his poem Maggie and Milly and Molly and May (Christensen). In this poem the reader is first introduced to four characters which happen to be young girls by the names of Maggie, Milly, Molly and May. These girls are Cummings distraction to the reader so that they overlook the true meaning. By creating the poem around these four girls it sets the readers mind away from the serious aspect of the piece. The reader then becomes more focused on a childs own thought process. Cummings also uses grammar to make the message more unclear. In this poem he uses lack of capitalization in the girls names just as he does in his own name. Instead of writing the names as they should be; Maggie, Milly, Molly and May he writes them as maggie, milly, molly and may. It is said that Cummings choice in doing this is to set a more playful, youthful tone. This tone ties in with the four young characters. This again is another technique to keep the readers mind from the more serious aspect of the poem (Brent). The girls are going to the beach to play and have fun just like any child, but as the poem progresses each of the girls encounters something that turns out to be much more serious in Cummings eyes. Each encounter seems harmless and like childs play, but it is meant to represent so much more. The poem reads, “maggie discovered a shell that sang so sweetly she couldn’t remember her troubles,” (lines 2,3). Here Maggie finds a shell, most likely to be
Bibliography: Brent, Liz. "Critical Essay on 'maggie and milly and molly and may '." Poetry for Students. Ed. Jennifer Smith and Elizabeth Thomason. Vol. 12. Detroit: Gale Group, 2001. Literature Resource Center. Web. 6 May 2012. Christensen, Paul. "E. E. Cummings: Overview." Reference Guide to American Literature. Ed. Jim Kamp. 3rd ed. Detroit: St. James Press, 1994.Literature Resource Center. Web. 6 May 2012. Cummings, Edward Estlin. “maggie and milly and molly and may”. 95 Poems. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1950. Print.