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Personal interpretation towards "love" in this poem

Popularity 4Viewed 7520 times 2014-10-30 18:00 |Personal category:思考|System category:Others| love, adjective, lexical meaning

Below is the original text of poem "love is more thicker than forget" written by E.E. Cummings. Though all words in this poem is simple and short, it is not that easy to understand and translate this poem. Here I try to interpret its theme "love" by doing lexical analysis of all adjectives. I hope you guys could give me some advice and share your understanding of this poem with me.    


love is more thicker than forget


love is more thicker than forget

more thinner than recall

more seldom than a wave is wet

more frequent than to fail


it is most mad and moonly

and less it shall unbe

than all the sea which only

is deeper than the sea


love is less always than to win

less never than alive

less bigger than the least begin

less littler than forgive


it is most sane and sunly

and more it cannot die

than all the sky which only

is higher than the sky



All adjectives are collected and divided into four groups as shown in different colors below.

1.      thicker, thinner, bigger, littler

Words in group one are used to describe an object’s size and weight; in this way, love, an abstract word, is materialized. In other words, love becomes tangible and measurable. Looking at comparison structure these words are in, for example, "thicker than forget", forget is actually not a tangible object but a behavior used as a noun conveying the state. So the non-correspondence leaves love harder to conjecture about. But basically love here is objectified in terms of collocation.

2.      seldom, frequent, always, never

Words in group two are frequency word, but they are employed in the poem to describe love. So on the one hand, love is more vivid from the perspective of its happening times; on the other hand, love is to some extent personified because frequency words refer to people’s conditions and states in most cases, which can also be deduced from its collocation with comparison in the line like “frequent than to fail” and “always than to win”.

3.      wet, deeper, higher

Words in group three accompany the comparisons with other objects like wave, sea and sky in the poem. Here, the author wants to give readers more direct perception towards love by virtue of association with other objects that people have basic impression on. Although wave, sea and sky are also unmeasurable in a simple way, adjective comparative “deeper, higher” lead the readers to imagine the great depth and height of love so that love becomes full of connotations.

4.      mad, moonly, alive, sane, sunly

Words in group four are basically used to describe people’s feelings and mood. Here they are meant to interpret love. On this level, love is personified, and at the same time, the author’s own affections are unconsciously inserted, which I interpret as affective meaning. Although moonly and sunly cannot be looked up in the dictionary, from the mode of word formation, readers are able to tell emotion implied from them. In this case, love is not one kind of emotion again but contains both positive and negative emotions.


To sum up, from the perspective of lexical meaning, the author adds a multiplicity of adjectives into his poem which meanwhile interpret love very well on different levels. In terms of the thematic meaning all adjectives convey, love is tangible, measurable, emotional, full of connotation and hard to conjecture about.





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