Who are you, little i?
Exercise: Question & Answers
Understanding the text
Answer the following questions.
a. Who can be the speaker of this poem?
→ The person who is speaking is an adult, recalling his childhood in this poem. It’s possible that the person speaking is the poet, who wrote the poem in the first place.
b. What is “little” I doing?
→ At the end of the day, the “little I” is staring out a window to enjoy the pleasing view of the setting sun.
c. What can be the relationship between the “little I” and the speaker of the poem?
→ The “little I” represents the speaker’s own childhood, and the speaker is the grown-up child represented by the “little i.” As a result, the “little I” represents the childhood version of the speaker.
d. What is the speaker remembering from his childhood days in the poem?
→ Speaking of natural scenes at sunset, the speaker recalls how much he used to enjoy them. It was sights like these that he relished in the past.
e. What attitude does the speaker seem to have toward the child in the poem?
→ The speaker appears to have fond memories of the child. He still perceives a youthful presence within himself, which motivates him to look out the window and take in the scenery.
Reference to the context
a. Why do you think Cummings has placed a semicolon between the words window and at?
→ The poet has used a semicolon (:) to separate the two words in the long sentence while still allowing the ideas to flow smoothly through the poem. When a semicolon is used instead of a comma, the sentence is stronger.
b. If the speaker is the grown up child, why does he ask, “who are you”?
→ The speaker is a grown-up child. However, he continues to pose the question “who are you?”. It’s possible he’s having a hard time recalling the wonder he felt as a kid. Maybe it’s his fondness to enjoy the childhood days and that he’s still a kid at heart.
c. In this poem, an adult reflects on the childhood experience. Based on that, what might be the theme of the lines.
→ ‘Death’ is a recurring theme in these lines. A difficult journey from a joyful childhood to the end of one’s life is shown with compassion.
d. What is the poem’s rhyme scheme?
→ The rhyme scheme of this poem is ABAB.
e. Explain the pun in “little I that is related to what he is doing?
→ Pun can have multiple interpretations depending on how it’s used. The poet’s writing style calls for the first-person pronoun ‘I’ to be lowercase. By including the word ‘little’ in the phrase ‘little I he implies that the boy is extremely small. It could imply that the boy is still a child compared to his current adulthood. Another interpretation is that he downplays the significance of his own experience in comparison to others.
f. How does Cumming’s use of lower case letters affect your understanding of the poem? Explain.
→ His usage of lowercase characters gives the sense that he is smaller. Self-importance is minimized while time is elevated in significance using lowercase letters in this poem.
Reference beyond the text
a. How does nature inspire the speaker in “who are you, little I Explain.
→ By taking him back to an earlier moment, nature reawakens his love of the natural phenomena. His childhood memories have been brought back to life by the beautiful environment. In his youth, he discovers himself as a five- or six-year-old boy. He doesn’t stop staring at the stunning golden sunset, taking in the beauty of the day turning into night while he does so.
b. Recall a childhood moment when you felt closely connected with nature. Describe the time and place as well as the feelings and thoughts about it.
→ I was born and raised in a town. But luckily, we went to our old village home at Dashain time. It was my first time stepping on a village. It was a complete contrast to the frenetic pace of the big city. It was my first encounter with a milking cow, and I was quite taken aback. I used to think all food came from supermarkets or dairies if it wasn’t organic. My grandfather took me to our paddy field the following morning. The sheer amount of vegetation astounded me. It was a welcome change from the concrete jungle I’m used to.
There, I discovered how to establish a connection with the natural world. I loved watching the sun rise and set behind the towering skyscrapers of my city. We spent about a month there. However, my first encounter with nature is something I’ll never forget.
c. Interpret the poem in any way you like.
→ E.E. Cummings, a well-known American poet, wrote “Who are you, little I” which is a wonderful, contemplative poem. The speaker of this poem has depicted a little child, his actions, and his feelings as they relate to nature’s beauty and awe-inspiring changes. Beautiful nature and its influence on a speaker have been depicted in this poem. An image of nature that inspired and even brought back memories from his youth has been expressed in this brief poem by the narrator. Nature’s non-permanent freshness is the central topic of this poem. It is impossible to deny the importance of nature and its impact on everyone’s life. Nature’s beauty and pleasure stay with us throughout our lives, inspiring us and bringing us joy and astonishment. Nature’s beautiful transformations have the capacity to captivate individuals of all ages, regardless of their age or gender. Humans have always felt a close connection to nature.
This poem has a total of eight lines. We can sense the speaker’s closeness to the wide and lovely natural world in these passages. He minimizes the significance of the ego while highlighting the passage of time by combining “I’ with “little.”
“Who are you, little I” is a short reflective poetry written by E. E. Cummings. It’s about the speaker’s relationship with nature and how it affects him. Nature’s beauty and the pleasant impact it has on the speaker are the primary focus of the poem. He is remembering an experience of his early years intertwined with nature in this poem.
At the end of a long day, the speaker stands near a window and stares out. He gets into a nostalgic frame of mind, thinking back to when he was a kid and would sit and watch the sunset with his parents. He recalls how enchanted he was by such a sight as a five- or six-year-old. It’s a wonder he’s still so energetic and full of life.
Maybe deep down he wants to come out, but he’s too mature and responsible to do so. This implies that the magic of childhood never leaves us. Under the weight of adult responsibilities and pressures, we’ve hidden it away. As the sun sinks lower in the sky, he puts his adult worries aside and takes in the relaxing and soothing view of the sunset.
Throughout the first section, the speaker’s thoughts return to happy memories from his childhood. He appears to be in a sentimental frame of mind. The second part marks a shift in his mood theme from one to the other. Now he is sad because he cannot relive the same moment again. This section talks about how he got out of his funk. Up until the very end, he discusses death, starting with the concept of “feeling”. It is important to note that the speaker prefers the relief of death to the pains of life.