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E E Cummings who was born in 1894 and died in 1962 wrote many poems with unconventional punctuation and capitalization and unusual line word and even letter placements - namely ideograms Cummings most difficult form of prose is probably the ideogram it is extremely terse and it combines both visual and auditory elements There may be sounds or characters on the page that cannot be verbalized or cannot convey the same message if pronounced and not read Four of Cummings poems - la mortals blac and swi - illustrate the ideogram form quite well Cummings utilizes unique syntax in these poems in order to convey messages visually as well as verbally Although one may think of la as a poem of sadness and loneliness Cummings probably did not intend that This poem is about individuality - oneness Kid 200-1 The theme of oneness can be derived from the numerous instances and forms of the number 1 throughout the poem First la contains both the number 1 and the singular indefinite article a the second line contains the French singular definite article le ll on the fifth line represents two ones one on the 7th line spells the number out the 8th line l isolates the number and iness the last line can mean the state of being I - that is individuality - or oneness deriving the one from the lowercase roman numeral i 200 Cummings could have simplified this poem drastically a leaf fallsloneliness and still conveyed the same verbal message but he has altered the normal syntax in order that each line should show a one and highlight the theme of oneness In fact the whole poem is shaped like a 1 200 The shape of the poem can also be seen as the path of a falling
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