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The Power of Love

Falling in love: to become enamored (“fall in love”). Enamored means to charm or captivate (“enamored”). “somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond” by EE Cummings deals with ideas of love, as critic Bryan Aubrey comments on Cummings’ style, stating “[his] love poems are celebrations of a many-leveled intimacy between a man and a woman” (Aubrey).  From Aubrey’s statement, one can infer that the subject of the poem is a woman, and the narrator is most likely a man. In addition, Cummings’ poems typically “celebrated…lovers” (Baym 2172).  Thus “somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond” most likely follows Cummings’ trend and reflects the theme of love between a man and a woman, more specifically the idea of falling in love. Cummings argues that falling in love, causes one to willingly give themselves over to the power of their lover, and as a result one opens themselves up emotionally.

Through his numerous statements, the narrator shows his admiration for the power the woman possesses. Because the narrator describes how the woman can “[render] death and forever with each breathing,” he sees her as powerful, as she possesses the ability to cause life or death, two capabilities associated with those of a goddess (Cummings 16). People worship gods for the power they possess, just as the narrator worships the woman. The narrator also states that she opens him up “as Spring opens…her first rose,” using a simile to compare the woman and spring (l.7). The narrator capitalizes “Spring” to make it a proper noun, showing “Spring” as a living entity representing nature. The comparison suggests that the power the woman possesses rivals that of Mother Nature, indicating the woman may be a force of nature herself. In fact, at the end of the poem, the narrator even goes so far as to claiming she can open up him up when “nobody,not even the rain” could (l. 20). Rain represents nature, and since not even the force of nature could open the narrator, he suggests that the woman may have more power than Mother Nature herself. The narrator loves the woman so deeply that he even ignores the rules of punctuation. Critic Ryan Poquette comments on how the narrator “runs all of the words and the comma together...so enamored of his beloved that he does not want to even take [any] customary pauses,” supporting the idea of the use of commas shows the narrator’s love for the woman (Poquette). The lack of space means the narrator does not take a breath, wanting to talk about the woman so badly that he cannot bother to take a breath in the middle. This level of admiration, along with repeatedly bringing up the power of the woman and comparing her to powerful entities, shows how much the narrator adores her.


Since the narrator has fallen in love with the woman, she holds much power over him. The narrator goes “somewhere [he] has never travelled,” meaning the narrator journeys into the unknown (l. 1, 2). Most people would hesitate when going somewhere he or she has “never travelled,” yet the narrator does so “gladly beyond/any experience,” which suggests not only does he willingly step forth into the unknown, he would venture even further than the unknown (l. 1, 2). Therefore, the woman shows her control over the narrator, as he would willingly to go wherever she goes and beyond without a second thought. The line “in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,” show that even a slight indication of love “enclose[s]” the narrator (l. 3). “Enclose” means to surround, suggesting the narrator would immerse himself in the woman’s love, immediately prioritizing her himself and the rest of the world (“enclose”). Even “[her] slightest look” would “easily” cause him to open up, supporting the idea that the smallest sign from the woman towards the narrators causes him to open up (l. 4). Those two lines exemplify the woman’s power over the narrator, since his willingness to do what the woman wishes at just the slightest suggestion shows his complete devotion to her.

The narrator begins to open himself up emotionally to accept more love because he has fallen in love with the woman. The narrator had previously “closed [himself] as fingers,” shutting himself out from the rest of the world like fingers of a hand closed in a fist, preventing him from finding love (l. 6). Despite the narrator’s closed-off exterior, the “[woman] open[s] always” showing her ability to reveal the narrator to the rest of the world (l.7). Opening “petal by petal” demonstrates the reluctance of the narrator as the woman has to peel away each part of his emotional barrier, yet because the narrator has fallen in love with the woman, he continues to open nevertheless. The idea of opening up parallels that of the previous line, when the smallest gesture would “unclose” him (l. 5). The word “unclose” means to reveal or open up, and since the narrator has fallen in love with the woman, he opens himself to the love of the woman (“unclose”). When the narrator says the power of the woman “compels [him] with…[her] countries,”  he claims that the woman allows him to see the “[her] countries” (l. 15). The word “countries” shows the idea of worldliness, which refers back to the travelling mentioned in the first line of the poem. In this context, the narrator explores the woman, since the countries are associated with her; by exploring he opens himself to look beyond his previously closed-off life.  The narrator no longer closes himself off from the world, but rather opens himself to love.

Cummings’ ideas of the power of love on an individual applies in other mediums other than poetry, such as television. TV shows such as Galavant exemplify love’s effect on people. When King Richard becomes infatuated with a woman, Madalena. He gives her whatever she wishes for, simply because he admires her beauty and feistiness. Though Madalena does not possess the fragility of the woman in Cummings’ poem, Madalena still holds King Richard in the palm of her hand, demanding him to attend dinners or throw a party, the latter obeying without hesitation. Madalena’s demands actually force King Richard to reveal parts of himself that he has not dealt with since childhood, altering his perception of himself. Richard acknowledges his cowardice and lack of masculinity. Though he does not open emotionally King Richard opens himself up to find a life outside of his castle. He becomes more manly and independent, venturing off into unknown lands for the adventure without fear or hesitation.

 

 

 






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