E. E. Cummings: Poems Literary Elements

E. E. Cummings: Poems Literary Elements

Speaker or Narrator, and Point of View

"Humanity I Love You" and "Etcetera" have a speaker that is a participant of the poem with first person point of view.
"Maggie and Milly and Molly and May" has a speaker that is outside the poem (omniscient) with a third person point of view.

Form and Meter

"Etcetera"-free verse, "Maggie and MIlly and Molly and May"-two line stanza with aa rhyme scheme

Metaphors and Similes

"and because you are
forever making poems in the lap
of death"
-"Humanity I Love You"

"for a bad cigar is a woman
but a gland is only a gland"
-"Of Ever-Ever Land I Speak"

Alliteration and Assonance

"maggie and milly and molly and may
went down to the beach(to play one day)"-repetition of (m), (l) and (æ)


"Humanity I Love You"-The entire poem is an ironic expression of love towards humanity which is confirmed with the final "I hate you" line.

"Humanity i love you
because you would rather black the boots of
success than enquire whose soul dangles from his


war poetry


"My Sweet Old Etcetera"-set after First World War


grim, gloomy

Protagonist and Antagonist

In "Humanity I Love You" the protagonist is the speaker of the poem and antagonist is the humanity which is "forever making poems in the lap of death".

Major Conflict

In "Maggie and Milly and Molly and May" the major conflict is the three girls (which from the innocent rhytm of the poem seem as children, but the grim message of the poem points to them having a more serious meaning) going to the beach to play.


In "Maggie and Milly and Molly and May", May returns home with a stone "as large as alone".




"down with hell and heaven
and all the religious fuss
infinity pleased our parents
one inch looks good to us"
-"of Ever-Ever Land I speak"


"and Ever-Ever Land is a place
that's measured and safe and known
where it's lucky to be unlucky
and the hitler lies down with the cohn)"
-"of Ever-Ever Land I speak"

Metonymy and Synecdoche

"it's brains without hearts have set saint against sinner..."
-"if up's the word..."


In the poem "Humanity I Love You" humanity is personified and the speaker of the poem is addressing it.


The entire "i carry your heart with me" poem is a hyperbolical expression of love.


"Where tar-pits softly bubbled once amid the waving reeds..."
-"Los Angeles Smog"

Update this section!

You can help us out by revising, improving and updating this section.

Update this section

After you claim a section you’ll have 24 hours to send in a draft. An editor will review the submission and either publish your submission or provide feedback.