Study Guide

anyone who lived in a pretty how town Family

By Edward Estlin Cummings

Family

In "anyone lived in a pretty how town," Cummings is pretty suspicious of the concept of family, especially when family becomes an excuse for not caring about anyone other than yourself and your children. That's not to say that Cummings hates families. He just thinks that modern families are way too into themselves and that they don't care about their communities. Plus, he thinks that modern culture is way too conformist when it comes to raising kids. Just think about how willing people are to criticize other people's parenting skills. Yep, it can get pretty ugly.

Questions About Family

  1. Do you think Cummings' suspicion toward the American family is fair? Why or why not?
  2. Do you agree with the idea that focusing too much on family makes people blind to their broader communities? Why or why not?
  3. Did reading this poem change your ideas of what it means to have a family or raise kids? Why or why not?

Chew on This

E.E. Cummings uses poetry to destroy the American family. (And all this time we thought it'd be Justin Beiber's underwear ads.)

E.E. Cummings believes that family is good—as long as it's a model for how you should treat everybody you meet.

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