Overwhelming Patriotism Essay

762 words - 3 pages

E.E. Cummings poem “next to of course god America i” can be interpreted, on the surface, as a stark criticism of patriotism in general. However, he is not just criticizing patriotism, but, criticizing blind patriotism and abusing blind patriotism to further an agenda. The poem itself is a reflection of the picturesque American life portrayed in snap shots of patriotic songs and colloquialisms that are indicative to American life. These snap shots help highlight how excessive patriotism begins and how it can be overwhelming.
The poem begins almost as a preface to the real message that Cummings is trying to say. The first four lines, in a sense, is Cummings trying to make sure that the reader understands that he loves America. He wants the readers to understand that this poem is not to be misinterpreted as unpatriotic or un-American. Cummings makes a very bold and powerful statement in the first line placing America as, aside from God, his main love. By going to such lengths, it can be assumed that what Cummings is going to say next would have the reader call into question his loyalty to his country. To cement his proof that he loves his country Cummings quotes some of America’s most patriotic songs, “My Country Tis of Thee” and the American National Anthem. He does not quote these songs in their full form however. Instead, Cummings juxtaposes them almost right on top of each other, with on running into the other. This gives off to feelings of an overwhelming amount of patriotism that is forced upon the listener. By doing this, Cummings gives dual meaning to the first four lines of the poem.
The emotion of the poem takes a turn in the next five lines. In classic Cummings style, he combines the words “deaf and dumb” into one which makes it more pronounced within the line. What Cummings is saying is very in these lines are very profound, and his word choices are very ingenious. In these lines, he says even the deaf and dumb have been praising and repeating the patriotic and religious rhetoric for centuries without thinking about it. Cummings is commenting on the fact that so many follow the allure that blind patriotism merely because it has been done...

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