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in Just-

in Just-

by E.E. Cummings

Youth Theme

Spring is a young season. Children are young humans. You could even call lower-case letters the baby version of upper-case alphabets. Everything in "in Just-," in other words, is young and vibrant…everything, that is, except for the "old, lame" figure who serves as the central focus of the poem. How do youth and age interact? What sort of language can a poem create to express and embody youth? And exactly how bad is it to be old? This poem may not resolve any of these questions, but it does tease out some of their implications.

Questions About Youth

  1. Is the use of lower-case letters related to the subject matter of the poem (children)? If so, how?
  2. Is the speaker of this poem a child?
  3. What makes spring such a "young" season, anyway?
  4. How does the listing of the games the kids are playing affect your understanding of their characters? Do the two groups seem like different characters or not?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Although this poem appears to be celebrating the joys of youth, it actually foretells the end of innocence.

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