Here is what I thought of the poem after reading and studying it. It is not so much an analysis of the poem, but an analysis of the devices used to convey the thesis of the poem.
E. E. Cummings presents his views about life and how the individual is able to create more opportunities in life by pushing boundaries than if he were to conform to the demands of society by using sequential diction in an informal sentence structure through a weary tone. The weary tone gives the impression that the narrator has been through many difficult situations and made hard decisions. The tone makes it seem that the narrator has gained quite a bit of experience by living through much of life. With "they sowed their isn't they reaped their same
reaped their sowing and went their came," it gives the audience a feeling that the people have been working and gaining experience for a long time. In reality, the sowing and reaping process of crops takes an entire year. The narrator alludes to this fact with the "anyone" and "no one " sowing and reaping to show that they have been through hardships together and for a long time that in fact extends towards many years. Much of this is derived from the aphorism, "One reaps what they sow." The tone emphasizes the belief that one should be able to make their own decisions; they should be able to live their life just as they like it. E. E. Cummings' sequential diction in an informal sentence structure plays a major role in the understanding of the poem. The entire poem is constructed based on the informal order of the diction. He uses what is commonly considered a "verb" as a proper noun, or may make an adjective a conjunction, but usually the meaning behind the words and the poem is clear. The plot of "Anyone Lived in a Pretty How Town" is simple, but it is in the subtle language choices that this poem is understandable. "Anyone Lived in a Pretty How Town" tells the story of anyone. The name has a double meaning; anyone could be anyone in the dictionary definition sense, and could be seen as one person, reinforcing the theme of isolation the independent individual has from the rest of society. The events all occur in a "pretty how town". "Pretty" connotes a false appearance, describing the superficiality of the town's inhabitants. "How", an adverb, is used as an adjective here. It is describing the extent of the town's prettiness, but a better reason is that it describes the routine-like schedule of the town's activities, since "how" also means "in a method or manner". The similar words continue "(with up so floating many bells down)". This line occurs again later in the poem, and its function is to signify the passing of time. The next line is an ordered list of the seasons, also symbolizing the passing of time, describing anyone's activities as occurring continuously. The activities are grouped as failures (his didn't) and his successes (his did). Regardless of the outcome, anyone is singing and dancing "happily." The women and men are described as "little and small", referring not to their physical size but their capacity and willingness to explore new dimensions. The townspeople did not care for the individual named anyone, nor do they care for any of each other. They do not attempt anything (sowed their isn't) outside their known habits (they reaped their same). The list of "sun moon stars rain" signifies the fact that the townspeople never change their standardized routines even when other things do. Cummings also embeds symbolism in several sections of his poem. He views children as innocent, and because of their innocence, can see the love no one has for anyone's individuality. Again, no one
's name has a double meaning, expressing the degree of no one 's love ("more by more") as well as anyone's intense isolation from the rest of society. The children's ability to see this love fades with the passing of time as they get older, and it is interesting to note that the list of seasons this...
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