Earl J. Dias: On "Buffalo Bill's"

 ...The picture of Buffalo Bill on his "watersmooth-silver stallion"...is...acidly ironic. Moreover...Buffalo Bill is not the only individualist mentioned in the poem; in fact, Jesus is given a line to Himself.

Consequently, His name stands out emphatically in the poem--perhaps as a contrast to Buffalo Bill. Of the two types of individualism implied in the poem--the man of war and the man of peace--I submit that the latter is more akin to Cummings' basic ideas revealed throughout the body of his writing.

As for the last three lines of the poem...they underline the central sarcasm of the work. The question is obviously delivered in acerbic tones; "your blueeyed boy" (the phrase seems to have overtones of "fair-haired boy") suggests that Buffalo Bill has at last found his rightful home--with Death itself.

In summary...it is safe and reasonable to conclude that for Cummings, Buffalo Bill belongs in the category of the poet's dislikes--with war, salesmen, windy politicians, the prurient--in short, with all negators of life and the "sweet, spontaneous earth."


Title Earl J. Dias: On "Buffalo Bill's" Type of Content Criticism
Criticism Author Earl J. Dias Criticism Target E. E. Cummings
Criticism Type Poet Originally Posted 04 Aug 2021
Publication Status Excerpted Criticism Publication e. e. cummings And Buffalo Bill
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