Study Guide

my father moved through dooms of love Man and the Natural World

By E. E. Cummings

Man and the Natural World

The theme of nature is a big deal in a lot of Cummings's poems. Some say that he wrote in the tradition of nature-loving Transcendentalist writers like Emerson, Thoreau, and Whitman. Also, hid dad has been described as a Transcendentalist Christian minister, so it's no big surprise that "my father moved through dooms of love" is seeded with a heapin' helpin' of natural imagery. Throughout the poem, the speaker uses images like mountains, seas, and stars to represent the best of what his father was. (Note: there's a lot of natural imagery of the seasons in this poem as well. We're all over that in "Symbols, Imagery, Allegory.")

Questions About Man and the Natural World

  1. Which line in the poem do you think best shows the speaker's father's unity with nature? Why that one?
  2. Does the poem ever show humanity at odds with the natural world? What parts of the poem support your response?
  3. In what ways does the talk of nature take on an almost religious fervor in the poem?
  4. Let's pretend that the speaker doesn't mean any of this nature stuff literally. What personality traits of the father might it represent? What is the effect of the speaker using nature imagery to get those ideas across?

Chew on This

The natural imagery in the poem ultimately expresses the speaker's father's peace with death and the hereafter. He's cool with it all.

The poem contrasts the awful conformity and maliciousness of human society (boo) with the pure beauty of the natural world (yay).

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