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the boys i mean are not refined... (44) Analysis

Author: poem of e.e. cummings Type: poem Views: 13

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the boys i mean are not refined

they go with girls who buck and bite

they do not give a fuck for luck

they hump them thirteen times a night


one hangs a hat upon her tit

one carves a cross on her behind

they do not give a shit for wit

the boys i mean are not refined


they come with girls who bite and buck

who cannot read and cannot write

who laugh like they would fall apart

and masturbate with dynamite


the boys i mean are not refined

they cannot chat of that and this

they do not give a fart for art

they kill like you would take a piss


they speak whatever's on their mind

they do whatever's in their pants

the boys i mean are not refined

they shake the mountains when they dance


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||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below |||

.: :.

it may not be as whimsical as his more famous pieces but as a military wife it speaks loudly of the temperament of the men who do the fighting. As the wife of a seal, I can tell you they are not refined! Whether or not he meant the the girls to mean the weapons of war, it speaks to a lot of military relationships. The passion and explosiveness you experience when you only see your partner for short periods of time. All the living and fighting is squeezed into the few months here and there when they men aren't going training or on deployment.

| Posted on 2015-08-08 | by a guest

.: :.

A lot of overanalysis here.
I think "the boys" is just a sly dig at such intellectual pretensions that we are displaying with our very critiques; that at a very basic level of our society we are shown for the crude animals that live within us all, and that there is no shame that.

| Posted on 2014-06-26 | by a guest

.: :.

The poem is clearly about soldiers, while the \"girls who buck and bite\" are the weapons of war.

| Posted on 2012-11-14 | by a guest

.: :.

to me this poem seems is an expression of the elemental power and deep affecting qualities of raw unbridled sexuality. cummings wrote many poems expressing admiration for and absorption with the loving, sensual, sexual. he also wrote with a heart and mind full of fascination and absorption with nature. my impression is that he would jar us out of our complacent conformity, in which we strive to be \'refined\', and rather lead us cavorting towards a more primal state of being in which we tap the base power that is ours, if we choose to live in that aspect of our natures. there is a definite poetic gravitas to that last line.. someone wrote about the last \"transcendent line takes us from disgust into beauty\". perhaps cummings would have us do away with our disgust all together, and rather delight in the raucous and reckless obscenity. there was a little goddess called baubo, who saw through her nipples and talked through her vulva. she was/is the goddess of the \'sacred profane\'. the point being that sometimes there is nothing like a bit of crudeness and lewdness to dispel darkness when all else fails, and that this sacrilegious, scandalous laughter has an almost holy quality in its capacity to transform. sometimes life is embraced more fully by the slightly reckless. cummings was a sensitive and artfully perceptive human, if his writings reflect anything of his nature. he was well aware that the raw feels more, and that life and death are lovers.

| Posted on 2012-05-11 | by a guest

.: :.

I've often suspected somebody challenged cummings to write a poem that rhymed for a change, and that this was his mocking reply. It's certainly earthy, obscene, overwrought, and a slap in the face to the "refined" critics of poetry both then and now.
It doesn't even look like a poem on the face of it, more like a few lines of obscene doggerel, until that last, transcendent line takes us from disgust into beauty. But underneath it's actually quite a disciplined piece of work, precise iambic tetrameter, no extra syllables, no broken feet. It's cummings laughing at us.

| Posted on 2010-03-25 | by a guest

.: :.

I can't believe that no one has mentioned that this poem has a rhyme scheme, and meter, which I find in no other of Cummings' work. I originally saw this poem in my high school libary's copy of "Complete Poems," and it was published as a photocopy of his handwriting, versus the typeset and often strangely formatted appearance of the rest of the tome.
I do appreciate the critical facts mentioned here, e.g., that Cummings is regarded as a modernist. I also like thinking of the poem as a war metaphor, i.e., soldiers and cannons. This makes sense to me.
The comment immediately preceding mine (2/26/2008) most closely resembles my original interpretation of the poem.
My very favorite comment here is the first, the one with the detective work. Fascinating. Of all of the comments, this one has aroused my curiosity enough to actually read the poem again, even though I can nearly recite it from memory. It made a very deep impression on me, both for content and for the stark contrast to Cummings' other work.

| Posted on 2009-09-03 | by a guest

.: :.

he is awe of these people - that is obvious
he is not one of them - that too is obvious
the sex is simply a direct expression of power and ability
I do not sense in him inadequacy - only respect

| Posted on 2009-08-24 | by a guest

.: :.

he is awe of these people - that is obvious
he is not one of them - that too is obvious
the sex is simply a direct expression of power and ability
I do not sense in him inadequacy - only respect

| Posted on 2009-08-24 | by a guest

.: :.

Listen to me because I'm awesome:
The modernist movement, of which Cummings was a key contributer, was partially about the disullsionment of man. Therefore, this would seemingly be a criticism of man's vulgairty.
HOWEVER--As an existentialist, which Cummings inarguably was, the final line "They shake the mountains when they dance" is -completely- inconsistent with a thesis of man's insignificance. Why would he write poem after poem expressing unbais nature and the inconsequence of man only to turn around and say corrupted men may shake mountains/change the course of nature? This poem is meant to appear to criticize man, but in actuality, praise him for his honesty.
Remember, modernists were fascinated by Freud and Jung, both of were obsessed by the idea of repression. The men Cummings expresses in his poem do not conform and therefore live a life of depression and regret, instead, they chase and obtain what they know will make them happy regardless of the poor reputation they will achieve in society. They shake mountains---they change nature, or society.
If you don't think so, look at all the other modernists which criticize convention and their collection of sex poems, of which Cummings heavily contributed.

| Posted on 2008-11-17 | by a guest

.: :.

Not what I get at all. I get an assault on the way intellectuals, refined people, look down their noses at 'the masses'. I get a glorying in the uncomplicated, unpretentious animality, of these boys, and their girls who buck and bite. I get an statement of their power, and a warning to the 'refined' - they shake the mountains when they dance.
Although the cannon thing fits pretty well too.

| Posted on 2008-09-18 | by a guest

.: :.

Keeping in mind that E.E. Cummings is a concrete poet, I would say that this poem goes for the entirety of the male gender in general. It seems to be a sum of all the shortcomings of man. I suppose you could interpret it to mean a specific generation. However, I don't mean to sound dismal, but I think that progressively this poem becomes more and more true for each group of man ushered into existence.

| Posted on 2008-09-09 | by a guest

.: It isn't literal :.

I read once that this poem is about soldiers, and the girls he talks about are cannons. I think this actually makes a lot of sense, especially since he lived during both World Wars and was drafted into the army. Those army boys were not refined, they may fire a cannon 13 times in a night, they would carve crosses on cannons, and they kill all the time.

| Posted on 2008-05-11 | by a guest

.: :.

Well, I suppose if you look at the obvious, the poem is about a horrible generation. But that isn't the point of analysis. The "boys" are pained by their crudeness and impulsivity. Somehow, it is repetitive and unwanted.

| Posted on 2008-03-18 | by a guest

.: Moron :.

Considering this poem was written in the 1930s, the "horrible generation that was being brought up" was either your father's or your grandfather's. Why don't you show more respect for your elders, sir?

| Posted on 2008-03-05 | by a guest

.: :.

Obviously this is about the horrible generation that is being brought up. The boys are sex maniacs, and the girls in the story are whores who love to masturbate, as it says in the third stanza.

| Posted on 2008-02-26 | by a guest

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