Joined: Jan 2009 Posts: 324 Location: Vancouver, BC
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Ch 13 I Say Good-Bye to La Misère
I liked this chapter. Cummings’ conception of art is here wrapped up with his social-moral sense when he says “After my brief visit to Satan I wallowed in a perfect luxury of dirt. And no one objected. On the contrary, every one (realizing that the enjoyment of dirt may be made the basis of a fine art) beheld with something like admiration my more and more uncouth appearance. Moreover, my being dirtier than usual I was protesting in a (to me) very satisfactory way against all that was neat and tidy and bigoted and solemn and founded upon the anguish of my fine friends.”
When he goes on in that same passage to describe himself reaching the “summit of dirtiness” he is called to what is his final journey to the celestial city.
That “neat and tidy” comment reaches right back to the first chapter and his disgust with the spic and span world of his ambulance-driving days and his boss that he and B were so eager to escape. The neat and tidy world of the civilization that led to WWI. Again, nice writing.
Also when he does leave, as he sheds his version of his mortal raiment (like Christian in Bunyan’s story crossing the final river and dropping his clothes only to be clothed in gold at the celestial city), his language becomes more and more simply poetic. It is like he is becoming one of his celestial mountains.
And the final line where he rises up “into immortal sunlight…” that was a rather nice echo of Christian’s and Hope’s entrance into celestial city.
Despite what I think of the message itself and the use of real people to populate an allegory/novel, the writing is wonderful.
_________________ I've always found it rather exciting to remember that there is a difference between what we experience and what we think it means.
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