i was sitting in mcsorley's Themes

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Language and Meaning

At the heart of "i was sitting in mcsorley's" is the question of language's capacity to sufficiently name the world. Cummings's associative imagery and unconventional syntax present not a literal picture of the world within McSorley's saloon, as much as it does the speaker's emotional and subjective response to that place. That response is depicted in a rush of concrete images that are not spatially ordered or tied to narrative. The effect of this kind of description is an impressionistic rendering of the saloon, where no clearly defined shapes come into focus. The blurry nature of the picture is illustrated in the first lines of the second stanza, when cummings writes "the slobbering walls filthily push witless creases of screaming warmth chuck pillows are noise funnily swallows." Such an impressionistic representation of the physical world suggests that the role of language is not simply to name...

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This section contains 438 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the i was sitting in mcsorley's Study Guide
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Poetry for Students
i was sitting in mcsorley's from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.