By e. e. cummings
a)s w(e loo)k
Summary of r-p-o-p-h-e-s-s-a-g-r
- Popularity of “r-p-o-p-h-e-s-s-a-g-r”: This coded poem first appeared in 1935 and has gripped critics and commentators alike as it demonstrates the true art of the unconventional style of E. E. Cummings, a great American poet. He has truly brought a revolution in coded poetry and writing poetry with highly interesting and unique conventions, breaking almost all the previous conventions. This short poem “r-p-o-p-h-e-s-s-a-g-r” has become popular across the globe merely because of this unconventionality and the gist of the poet’s own non-conforming nature.
- “r-p-o-p-h-e-s-s-a-g-r” As a Representative of Unconventionality: The poet presents a creature, the grasshopper, but plays with its spellings, presentation, order, and arrangement. He starts with disordered and hyphenated spellings of the grasshopper by putting it as the title that is very difficult to understand and then presenting the sentence in a visual shape of how a grasshopper looks like and how it moves. Even the visual is a grasshopper but the readers have a very complicated situation when he tries to arrange the alphabet into an order which shows that this is not an order but a haphazard way of putting letters together. The result is readers can only understand that poet wants to state something about a grasshopper.
- Major Themes in “r-p-o-p-h-e-s-s-a-g-r”: Linguistic pranks, playing with letters, phrases, and awareness of the connotation and denotation are major themes of this poem. By changing the position of letters, using different punctuation marks, and the mechanics of writing, cummings wants to demonstrate how the signified and signifiers change place, position, and even meanings when letters connotating sounds are arranged differently. Therefore, this is not just the arranging of words but using figures of speech and figures of illusion that count in understanding meanings. Arranging and rearranging simple letters in the grasshopper turns it into a linguistic game.
Analysis of Literary Devices Used in r-p-o-p-h-e-s-s-a-g-r
E. E. Cummings has used various literary devices to enhance the intended impact of his poem. Some of the major literary devices he uses here are as follows.
- Assonance: Assonance is the repetition of vowel sounds in the same line, such as the sound of /a/ in “rea(be)rran(com)gi(e)ngly.”
- Alliteration: Alliteration is the repetition of consonant sounds in the same line in quick succession, such as the sound of /w/ in “the whole world down.”
- Irony: Irony is a figure of speech in which words are used in such a way that their intended meaning is different from the actual meaning of the words. This is an ironic poem that shows how simple disorder in words can jumble up things and yet they could be understandable.
- Imagery: Imagery is used to make readers perceive things involving their five senses. e. cummings has used imagery in this poem, such as “a)s w(e loo)k”, “rIvInG .gRrEaPsPhOs)” and “,grasshopper;”
- Symbolism: Symbolism is using symbols to signify ideas and qualities, giving them symbolic meanings that are different from the literal meanings. The poem shows symbols like who, look, and letters to signify something in a different way.
Analysis of Poetic Devices Used in r-p-o-p-h-e-s-s-a-g-r
Poetic and literary devices are the same, but a few are used only in poetry. Here is an analysis of some of the poetic devices used in this poem.
- Diction: There is no use of diction as in conventional poetry. Therefore, it could be termed bizarre diction.
- Free Verse: The poem does not follow any poetry writing convention. Therefore, it could be termed a free verse poem.
- Stanza: A stanza is a poetic form of some lines. There is not a single conventional stanza but just a few haphazard and ununderstandable verses.
- Tone: It is the voice of the text. This poem shows an indifferent and bland tone as it takes the readers a lot of time to read.
Quotes to be Used
The following lines are useful for anyone to quote when talking about unintelligible words and phrases.