Analysis of EE Cummings' "[i carry your heart with me (i carry it in]"

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Edward Estlin Cummings, commonly known as e.e. cummings, was a celebrated avant-garde poet who employed innovative techniques in his poetry. His work often defied traditional norms of punctuation and capitalization, delivering a visually striking and thematically rich reading experience. One of his renowned poems, "[i carry your heart with me (i carry it in]," encapsulates the essence of an enduring and profound love. In this analysis, we will delve into the poem's unique structure, its intricate use of figurative language, linguistic paradoxes, and symbolism to unravel the depths of love portrayed within its verses.

The Avant-Garde Style of e.e. cummings

E.E. Cummings was an avant-garde poet, a term referring to individuals at the forefront of intellectual or artistic innovation. Avant-garde artists seek to explore new and experimental concepts, particularly in the realm of the arts. Cummings' distinctive style often involved the deliberate omission of conventional punctuation and the use of lowercase letters, all of which contributed to the visual appeal of his poetry.

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This unconventional approach is not mere whimsy but a deliberate choice, as it aligns with the poem's overarching theme of unity and intimacy.

An Undying Love Within "[i carry your heart with me (i carry it in]"

The poem "[i carry your heart with me (i carry it in]" is a poignant example of e.e. cummings' free verse poetry, where the absence of a traditional rhyme or meter allows the poet greater freedom to express the depth of emotion. The poem conveys a profound and timeless love that transcends physical boundaries.

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It is important to note that the speaker's gender is ambiguous, emphasizing that the sentiments expressed are universal, not confined to a specific gender.

Figurative Language and Connotations

E.E. Cummings masterfully employs figurative language, denotations, and connotations throughout the poem to evoke the profound love that exists between the speaker and their beloved. The title itself, "[i carry your heart with me," carries a metaphorical weight. It is not a literal act of carrying a heart but a symbolic representation of the constant presence of the beloved in the speaker's heart and soul. This figurative expression sets the tone for the entire poem.

The use of parentheses is a distinctive feature of the poem. For instance, "i carry your heart with me(i carry it in my heart)" is an example of how Cummings intertwines denotations and connotations. The parentheses serve to enclose and emphasize the intimate connection between the speaker and their beloved. It suggests that the love is not just felt but resides deep within the speaker's heart, reinforcing the idea of an inseparable bond.

Linguistic Paradoxes and Contradictions

Linguistic paradoxes are skillfully woven into the fabric of the poem, adding layers of complexity and depth to the speaker's declarations of love. Cummings employs paradoxes to create a sense of duality and interconnectedness between the speaker and the beloved. Consider the lines: "(...whatever is done by only me is your doing, my darling)." In this statement, the speaker paradoxically asserts that their actions are both independent and intertwined with the beloved's influence. It underscores the idea that love can exist as both an individual experience and a shared journey.

Symbolism of Profound Love

Central to the poem is the symbolism of profound love. The speaker utilizes various symbolic expressions to convey the depth of their emotions. Phrases like "the root of the root" and "the bud of the bud" underscore the idea that their love is foundational and continually growing, much like the "tree called life." This symbol of growth and vitality represents the enduring nature of their affection.

The mention of "the sky of the sky" further amplifies the boundless quality of their love, suggesting that it extends beyond the limits of ordinary human experience. The reference to "a tree called life" serves as a metaphor for the evolving and flourishing nature of their relationship, which surpasses the boundaries of the physical world.


E.E. Cummings' "[i carry your heart with me (i carry it in]" is a testament to the enduring power of love and the innovative spirit of avant-garde poetry. Through his distinctive use of figurative language, linguistic paradoxes, and symbolism, Cummings captures the essence of a love that defies space and time. The poem invites readers to contemplate the depth of human connection and the profound impact of love on the human heart and soul.

As we unravel the layers of this poem, we are reminded that love, in all its complexities and contradictions, remains a force that transcends conventional boundaries. E.E. Cummings' poetic masterpiece serves as a timeless ode to the boundless nature of human affection, inviting us to carry the essence of love within our hearts, just as the speaker does in the poem.

Updated: Nov 06, 2023
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Analysis of EE Cummings' "[i carry your heart with me (i carry it in]". (2016, Apr 03). Retrieved from

Analysis of EE Cummings' "[i carry your heart with me (i carry it in]" essay
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