Study Guide

anyone who lived in a pretty how town Speaker

By Edward Estlin Cummings

Speaker

Casual and Kind of Uninterested

The speaker of this poem obviously doesn't talk like a normal person because they mix all kinds of words together in ways that are tough to understand. It's almost as if the speaker doesn't really care much about the story they're telling, and you get this feeling especially in line 25 when the narrator says, "one day anyone died i guess" (25). Hey, the main character of your story died and all you can manage is "i guess"? And you don't even bother with capitalizing the "I"? Sheesh, talk about a hands-off speaker.

But there's a point to all of this detachment, and here it is: the speaker of this poem wants to remind us that no matter how self-obsessed we might become when we move to the suburbs, there's no changing the fact that we're going to die in the same way that any plant or animal lives and dies. We're not going to escape nature's cycle, and in this sense the speaker's casual tone is appropriate. Life and death are normal and so are we.

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