Study Guide

anyone who lived in a pretty how town Love

By Edward Estlin Cummings

Love

Cummings wants us to know about death, but he also wants us to know about love. After all, love is one of our only consolations for knowing that we're going to die someday. It's our duty to do what we can with the time we've been given, and that means loving the people around us as much as we can. In "anyone lived in a pretty how town," Cummings suspects that romantic love is just as strong as it's ever been in the modern age, but he also thinks that neighborly love is nowhere near what it used to be. That's why he writes poems like this one: to remind us of its importance.

Questions About Love

  1. Does this poem make you want to pay more attention to the people around you? Why or why not?
  2. Does this poem take a pessimistic or optimistic view of love? Is it neither? Why?
  3. How is love connected to the passing of the seasons and the stars in the sky?
  4. Is it a good thing or bad thing for people to only care about themselves and their immediate families?

Chew on This

In "anyone lived in a pretty how town," we find that love is the only thing that can compensate us for the fact that we'll die someday.

When Cummings talks of love, he's only interested in romantic loveā€”none of that familial or neighborly affection mumbo-jumbo.

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