E.E Cummings’ Buffalo Bill analysis

Buffalo Bill's Life and Death

According to the song, Buffalo Bill is no longer alive. Defunct refers to something that has passed away, so the poem is about a figure who has passed away. A well-known character in the American West is Buffalo Bill Cody. He worked as a bison hunter and fought Indians, among other things. However, he became well-known when, in the latter half of the eighteenth century, he started a Wild West show. Bill and other cast members rode horses while portraying their skill by firing birds in the air. He was regarded as a man with many skills and professions. Buffalo bill is characterized as handsome that is he is a representation of what people would want, i.e., handsome, accomplished and full of life. By discussing his death, the author talks of how even the most accomplished and energetic people also die.

The Structure of the Poem

Looking at the poem's structure, the typeface of the first line "Buffalo Bill's," with spaces the name and the apostrophe s means a pluralization. It is like Cummings disregards not the person but rather the figure as well as all the replicas of that figure, i.e., all the males who perceive themselves as buffalo bills. The author separated the apostrophe s from bill to conjure up a picture of both the historical icon and his old-fashioned fans or devotees who follow him after leaving a gap between him and them (adherents). The America these wild west these icons thought they possess is no longer in existence, and therefore Bill is a long dead or defunct as the author puts it in the introduction.

Cummings also spreads the poem out on the page. The outline that is made at the endings of the lines resembles a sideways hill. It is like Buffalo Bill's life is organized. The shorter lines are at the start of his youthful years and the lines that extend through to the right part of the page at his most energetic and peak years. It is then trailed by the shorter lines on the left part of the page which is characterizing his demise. The author therefore is remarking on how demise is like a return to birth.

The structure of the poem is simply displaying the advancement of Bill's life. The first part he is progressive towards his peak, and then he slowly declines towards his demise. At the center of the poem, however, there is the name Jesus; this is a point where life meets death then his life declines. The name Jesus stands out in the point since Jesus is known as the man of peace whereas Buffalo Bill was known as a man of war, a huge contrast. The absence of spacing in the phrase "onetwothreefourfive" implies continuity and rate of his accomplishment when he was at his peak. "Pigeonsjustlikethat" also means his fastness in acting. The phrases without spaces may also signify admiration and the delight he aroused in the fans.

The Defunctness of Buffalo Bill's Life

Notice that Cummins never uses the word dead which is common. Rather he uses defunct to imply that he has stopped living or cease having life in contrast to losing life in itself. The suggestion might be that Buffalo Bill's life just stopped in its path and his demise was not expected. Even if the reader might not know him, he or she is forced to sympathize with the defunctness of Buffalo Bill's life.

Work Cited

Cummings, E. E. "Buffalo Bill’s." Poems 1923-1954 (1962).

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