Monday, August 25, 2014

Analysis of "[little tree]" by E. E. Cummings

Original poem reprinted online here: "[little tree]" by E. E. Cummings
More information about the Poet:  E. E. Cummings


Well this poem has a deeper meaning, but please, it's kind of weird...maybe because I'm looking at the poem based on sensory images.  In any case, the little tree refers to a Christmas tree; furthermore, the poem conforms to a quatrain pattern to be a little more predictable.  But not really.

     little tree
     little silent Christmas tree
     you are so little
     you are more like a flower

So this stanza focuses on the visual aspect of the Christmas tree, and note how the size is the qualifier for the simile -- small (more) like a flower.  The focus seems like aesthetics:

     who found you in the green forest
     and were you very sorry to come away?
     see         i will comfort you
     because you smell so sweetly.

 Yeah.  The rhetorical question right after personifies the tree to be in the defeat or to be "sorry."  And then the line, "I will comfort you," is an interesting line and then, "because you smell so sweetly" the reasoning is what makes the image seem out of place.  And I'm like, oh okay, something innocent.

"i will kiss your cool bark / and hug you safe and tight" No.  Just no.  Even if the perspective from a child, the language is too intimate and a little too genuine.  I can see the poem be a ironic stance with a cynical approach to the season, but, "just as your mother would, / only don't be afraid."

So here I am trying to figure out why the language is like this in this poem and feeling dirtier after every time I reread this poem.  The language of the tree turns more and more away to a child, and yes, perhaps the connection here is the metaphor of the tree to a child with, "put up your little arms / and i'll give them all to you to hold / every finger shall have its ring"  I'm not sure this poem works now, it just seems a bit creepy to me (or my tainted mind).

The last stanza though with this build up for the tree/child to be an idol ends with:

     and my little sister and i will take hands
     and looking up at our beautiful tree
     we'll dance and sing
     "Noel Noel"

This information should be sooner.  As I noted before, that the perspective of the child would buffer such intense and intimate language, but this is still a bit creepy -- the raising of an idol and then the worship is nothing new, but with such intimate terms kind of defiles the innocence.  I think it's just me.  I'm sorry to ruin this poem with my perspective.

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