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This paper analyzes the poem “the Cambridge ladies who live in furnished souls”, by E. E. Cummings. This poem is a reflection purely a reflection of the social set of persons he interacted with during his college days. Cummings has a clear contempt for these ladies who according to him live in “furnished souls”, are not beautiful and have “comfortable minds” (Line 1 & 2). “Furnished souls” symbolizes these ladies’ state of living. Regardless of the ladies being blessed with everything in life, they are “unbeautiful”, that is, not good people. The women are too ignorant to realize that they are “unbeautiful” and thus continue living with “comfortable minds” without care for the world.
According to Cummings, these ladies see themselves as faithful Protestants and daughters of faith but are “unscented, shapeless spirited they believe in Longfellow and Christ, both dead (Line 4 & 5). Regardless of the fact that they see themselves as good members of both the church and their community, their faith lacks substance and is like an odorless flower. This is a short-lived concept that has no shape. Believing in Christ to them is a consolation as they do so just because it is safe to belief in Christ. As “good” members of the church and community, they must be seen doing good things for the community and that’s why in line 6 Cummings writes “invariably interested in so many things”.
In concluding the poem, Cummings shows his contempt for these ladies and the way they are so far-away from what according to him is “real” world. Generally, this poem takes a sarcastic approach in looking at the “top-crust” members of society that the poet encountered during his college days. Because he was young then, he viewed these ladies as snobby representations of the society and as people whose major concern was their image and the way they fit with their friends rather than the real problems of the world.