Study Guide

Maggie and Milly and Molly and May Exploration

By E.E. Cummings

Exploration

and maggie discovered a shell that sang
so sweetly she couldn't remember her troubles,and (3-4)

Maggie gets to the beach presumably feeling a little troubled by something, but because of her discovery those troubles seem to disappear. The speaker seems to be saying that stepping out for a second to explore nature can often provide some wonderful therapeutic opportunities. No need for an expensive psychiatrist, a shell works just fine.

may came home with a smooth round stone
as small as a world and as large as alone. (9-10)

Then there's may, who finds something so simple. At first glance maybe we're wondering what's so special about a plain stone. But then we realize that it's those simple things that often reveal some real insight into ourselves and the world. No matter what you find while exploring the world, you're bound to discover something that'll get you thinking.

For whatever we lose(like a you or a me)
it's always ourselves we find in the sea (11-12)

What really takes the cake during all of this exploration is the fact that no matter what you find at the beach, you're going to learn something about yourself. The speaker makes it seem like it's impossible not to. The sea is way too big and vast to look at without having something come to mind that's enlightening in some way.

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