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i sing of Olaf glad and big... (XXX)

e.e. cummings

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i sing of correctness
Added by: gu one
olaf sings of glad and big
olaf is the epic hero
an ironic hero, a modern hero
his strength is a moral strength
not a physical one. Cummings did his studies on epic poems of homer's illiad and the odessey, hence the touchstone of the first line.
he does not bravely defy convention, he merely answers to
the individual not a collective thought. he is beaten and tortured by those who want to grind th conscientious object-or down into a good solider and killing machine.
so there is olaf, an american boy, big and blond dies for his freedom of choice, dieing to live,
Notes on Capitalisation
Added by: Kate
Note how Olaf (and 'I' when Olaf is speaking) is capitalised - most unlike cummings. This IS on purpose - note that president is lower case....
Added by: Noelle
I love this poem. There's so much interesting symbolism and references in it, that it really has a clear message, which is often rare for cummings. The ending, I think, is especially poignant, and adds to the overall bitterness that is in the poem.
Added by: Roger
one of my favorite little puns in this is "a conscientious object- or." Here, Cummings is creating one of his most clever double meanings- one the one hand, Olaf is a conscientious objector- he doesn't want to fight, his "warmest heart recoils at war." But on a more interesting level, he is also a conscientious object- or. Or what? Or something more, I think. He is treated as an object by his "wellbeloved colonel", but he's clearly conscientious- he has consciousness, he's unique among what I think cummings views as a horde of almost machine-men, or brainwashed soldiers. I think that double meaning tells a lot about the poem, which as a pacifist I definitely identify with.

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