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"Next to of course god America I"- By E.E. Cummings.

A poem, and its analysis. Acc. English class, grade 10.

Jessica Ibes

on 2 February 2013

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Transcript of "Next to of course god America I"- By E.E. Cummings.

"next to of course god America I" By: E.E. Cummings Edward Estlin Cummings was born on October 14th, 1894 and died on Septermber 3rd, 1962. He was a popuar American poet, painter, essayist, author, and playwright. His body of work includes, approximately, 2,900 poems, two autobiogaphical novels, four plays and several essays, as well as numerous drawings and paintings. He is remembered as a preeminent voice of 20th century poetry. Influences of his poetry include noteable modernists such as: Gerturde Stein, Erza Pound, and Amy Lowell. In 1917, with the first world war ongoing in Europe, Cummings enlisted in the Norton-Harjes Ambulance Corps, along with his college friend John Dos Passos. The two openly expressed anti-war views; Cummings spoke of his lack of hatred for the Germans. On September 21, 1917, just five months after his belated assignment, he and a friend, William Slater Brown were arrested by the French military on suspicion of espionage and undesirable activities. They were held for 3½ months in a military detention camp at the Dépôt de Triage, in La Ferté-Macé, Orne, Normandy. "next to of course god America I
love you land of the pilgrims' and so forth oh
say can you see by the dawn's early my
country 'tis of centuries come and go
and are no more what of it we should worry
in every language even deafanddumb
thy sons acclaim your glorious name by gory
by jingo by gee by gosh by gum
why talk of beauty what could be more beauty-
ful than these heroic happy dead
who rushed like lions to the roaring slaughter
they do not stop to think they died instead
then shall the voice of liberty be mute?

"He spoke. And drank rapidly a glass of water "World War 1 in a brief summary"
Austria Hungary disliked Serbia, their arch duke was killed, they blamed it on Serbia. Austria Hungary said we want to control your country or we will go to war Germany said, you go boy. Russia said, don't pick on Serbia, France said viva la Russia. Great Britain said, its not my problem unless you mess with Belgium.
Austria Hungary attacks Serbia and Russia, Germany attacks France but goes through Belgium, England says, I don't think so. In the East, battles go back and forth, nobody ever gets the advantage, mainly because of inept leaders on both sides, in the west, battles come to a stalemate, trenches are dug, war goes on for years until Russia collapses in Civil war, US finally comes to help England and France.
“I am young, I am twenty years old; yet I know nothing of life but despair, death, fear, and fatuous superficiality cast over an abyss of sorrow. I see how peoples are set against one another, and in silence, unknowingly, foolishly, obediently, innocently slay one another.” This is basically saying that people fought in the war for no real reason except to kill people. The poem "next to of course god America I" is a satire on blind patriotism. The most common interpretation is that the speaker is a politician rambling off an overused speech on how glorious America is, while the similes and allusions E. E. Cummings uses give an overall sarcastic effect. This suggests that Cummings doesn't believe in the foolishness of blind patriotism. "Next to of course god America I" Cumming's describes the immense patriosm of Americans, and how if the people in the country criticize the 'American belief' of superiority they are “labelled un-American”. The use of god is Cumming's way of showing the American belief of being better than everyone, even God himself. "love you land of the pilgrims' and so forth oh Americans and patriots love the land of America, and are faithful to it. Without really knowing why, they follow it and are devoted to it. "say can you see by the dawn's early my Part of the Star Spangled Banner, it is missing the word 'light'. The Patriot is unoriginal, and is talking too fast. They are tripping over their own tongue only trying to say the words without grasping their meaning. E.E.Cummings tries to explain that Americans/Patriots can only talk and say words of the Star Spangled Banner, but don't understand what it is saying. We sing, listen, and respect something only born out of habit and American tradition, but not out of understanding. "tis of countries come and go and are no more what of it we should worry in every language even deafanddumb" The Patriot thinks America is diverse. Many ethnicities(countries) come through America, and many leave. Kind of like saying America is a melting pot, but the person didn't fully get his words out. Also saying that we should worry about not hearing everything, and not being inteligent about what we do. But, the patriot foolishly talks too fast and Cummings depicts this through combining the words. "thy sons acclaim your glorious name by gory
by jingo by gee by gosh by gum" Soldiers are thought as wonderful, corageous, and brave for only going to war. Not for going for a good cause or a good reason. America is shaped by the soldiers who went for war and killed other people. Families of the soldiers praise them for killing other people who also had families. We get angry when one of our soldiers die. When our soldiers die from someone else who also had a family to go back home to. We blind ourselves by patriotism, when we don't even fully understand what it is we look up to. We praise the things our soldiers do, but hate the other countries who are only doing the same thing for themselves. "Why talk of beauty what could be more beauty-ful than these heroic happy dead Soldiers going to war is "Beautiful" to the patriot, when actually it's terrible and not good. "who rushed like lions to the roaring slaughter
they do not stop to think they died instead That is saying the soldiers rushed to the war to only show their bravery, and not for anything else. They went in and died only to seem like they died in honor when all they did was kill people. They made it seem okay by saying "these are people who murder other people". Which, in America, apparently means it's okay to kill them. It's a never ending circle. "then shall the voice of liberty be mute?" The patriot is voicing liberty, and he is absolutely not mute. All he is doing is making a fool of himself. He spoke. And drank rapidly a glass of water The patriot is tired of talking, and drank a glass of water. Meaning he was talking so fast he didn't fully grasp what he was saying. The inverted syntax of "drank rapidly"(when it would normally be rapidly drank) is to further explain the idea of confused philosophy, and corruptness. That drank rapidly is almost an unnoticeable difference, but when looked at closely it isn't right. This idea helps go along with the blind patriotism idea. The biggest literary devices used in this poem are allusions of famous song sung by Americans. What is the history of the star spangled banner? The whole thing is about Francis Scott Key seeing the American flag still flying over Fort McHenry in Baltimore after a night of intense siege and bombardment by the British during the War of 1812. Seeing the flag was significant, for it meant that the fort survived the night without being overrun or surrendering, giving Key reason to write his triumphant poem. How old is the United States of America? From the Declaration of Independence, 229 years old.
From the Constitution, 216 years old. How many people signed the Declaration of Independence? 56 Men. How many amendments to the constitution are there? There are 27 amendments. Can you name all of them? Didn't think so.
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