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E. E. Cummings Essay

845 words - 3 pages


E. E. Cummings: A Man of Poetry

     The background of E.E. Cummings, who was a distinctive, American poet, greatly influenced his literary achievements in poetry. This can be seen in the experiences of his early childhood. “Cummings was born Edward Estlin Cummings in Cambridge, Mass., on Oct. 14, 1894';(Ulanov 565). He was born into wealthy and creative surroundings. “Dr. Cummings was a woodsman, a photographer, an actor, a carpenter, an artist – and talented in all that he undertook. Mrs. Cummings [however] was a shy woman who overcame conventional influences to respond joyously and effectively to life'; (Triem 2). He also grew up in a rich neighborhood. “He virtually grew up in Harvard Yard and was surrounded by the most traditional aspects of Cambridge culture'; (Smelstor 455). E.E. Cummings’s parents not only provided him with creative surroundings, but also provided him with the best of educations. “Educated at Cambridge High School and Latin School, he entered Harvard University in 1911 and remained there until 1916, when he received his Master’s degree'; (Ulanov 565). It was during this time that E.E. Cummings was publishing his first poems for the Harvard Monthly Journal (Smelstor 455). After earning his Master’s at Harvard, he then moved on to volunteering as an ambulance driver in France during WWII. “From his experiences in La Ferte’ Mace’ (a detention camp) he accumulated material for his documentary ‘novel,’ The Enormous Room (1922), one of the best war books by an American'; (Triem 2). After a lifetime of literary achievement, “Cummings died in Conway, NH, on Sept. 3, 1962'; at the age of 68 (Ulanov 565). Thus, his early childhood and his later years helped to shape him into such a well-known literary poet.
     The themes and techniques used by E. E. Cummings distinguish his unique writing style from all other average poets of his time. In his writings, Cummings’, expressed many different themes. “He attacks many aspects of American life, especially Puritanism and Philistinism… (Cummings, Penguin, 470). In some of his poems, he favored toward the spiritual outlook of man.

The poems showed his transcendental faith in a world where the self-reliant, joyful, loving individual is beautifully alive but in which mass man, or the man who lives by mind alone, without heart and soul, is dead (Cummings, Microsoft, 154)

Cummings usually stayed pretty basic with his themes, “A number of Cummings’ poems praise the simple pleasures of nature, love, and spring'; (Ulanov 566). Another quality Cummings had that pushed him aside from other poets were the techniques he used. By just writing his name, it...

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