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Ch 1: I BEGIN A PILGRIMAGE 
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Easy Reader

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giselle wrote:

I copied this ee cummings poem from the “poem of the moment” thread because I wanted to connect his use of scattered language in poetry with his prose writing. In particular, I think the meaning of cummings writing, both in poetry and prose may be found in this unusual writing style. The lack of coherent sentences, the broken phrases, the splintered and fractured, the odd and unexpected or unnecessary twists of language force us to read each word and then go back at times to review what we have read and try to decipher his meaning.



Nice parallel, Giselle. I do think that understanding or at least having a sense of Cummings' poetry helps in reading The Enormous Room.

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... but a tentative that is about the human condition, that in an age of rapid change (early to mid 20C) that humanity is moving forward in a tentative, unsure way, both individually and en masse.

I think Cummings style of writing conveys the confusion, misunderstanding and uncertainty of the chaotic situation he found himself in. I also think that he captures the gap between thinking/internal thought processes and actual spoken words.

Quote:
Cummings frequent, scattered use of French, creates not only a sense of authenticity but a sense of broken-ness and lack of direction, as if the language itself doesn’t know where it is going.
Yes! I think the inclusion of French intensifies the sense of confusion and vulnerability Cummings & B at this point in the story.

It is interesting to me that this book is a fiction and yet Cummings uses his own person as the main character.


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Fri Apr 10, 2009 6:38 pm
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MaryLupin wrote:
...He (Cummings) is breaking the bonds between symbols and their traditional meaning. He is trying to shatter language so that experience can once again shine through.

I fits with what I know about the time too. Cultural icons, words, symbols of order no longer carried meaning after WWI. There were all those writers fighting the same kind of battle with tradition and the loss of meaning. '


Thanks, Mary, for posting the actual SUMMARY OF GROUNDS FOR ARREST. I have been thinking about your post. It made me think of the Dada Art movement.

From Wikipedia:

Dada or Dadaism is a cultural movement that began in Zürich, Switzerland, during World War I and peaked from 1916 to 1922.[1] The movement primarily involved visual arts, literature—poetry, art manifestoes, art theory—theatre, and graphic design, and concentrated its anti-war politics through a rejection of the prevailing standards in art through anti-art cultural works.


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Fri Apr 10, 2009 6:47 pm
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Saffron wrote:
It made me think of the Dada Art movement.


I think you're right about the connection. Not that he was into Dada but that the same things that motivated Cummings to reject his civilization also motivated the Dadaists. That war had some pretty profound effects on western notions of self, of culture, art and religion as well. The horror of it, the extremity of the violence broke our surety. When that happened we began a pretty wide-ranging effort to make some sense of it. Dada was one way of speaking about the absurdity that WWI made evident. Surrealism was another. One big difference, I think between Cummings and Dada and Surrealists was Cummings' belief in religion. While he thought that we had gone away from the truth of his religion (Christianity), he didn't think we should ditch it but move ahead into being "truly" faithful and "actual" practitioners. In that way he reminds me of T.S. Eliot.


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Thu Apr 16, 2009 8:51 pm
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Here is a copy of Bunyan's "The Pilgrim's Progress." I find it very helpful in understanding Cummings' intent.

http://www.classicallibrary.org/bunyan/pilgrim/index.htm


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Wed Apr 22, 2009 8:21 pm
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Thanks for the link, Mary. I was thinking of going to the library to check it out, figuring it would be helpful.


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--May Swenson


Wed Apr 22, 2009 8:35 pm
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