“they did not stop to think”: War and Indoctrination in “next to of course god america i”

Originally submitted 26 February 2016

E. E. Cummings explores the ultimate consequence of unchecked patriotism in his 1926 poem “next to of course god america i.” Through the complex relationship between its two speakers, “next to of course god america i” portrays how a nation maintains its own existence at the expense of its citizens. The primary speaker of the poem is a male speaker who expresses his love for America in rambling dramatic monologue. The quotation marks around his monologue indicate that a second speaker is retelling the words of the male speaker. For the sake of clarity, I will refer to the male speaker simply as “the speaker,” and the second speaker as “the narrator.” By framing the speaker’s monologue with the voice of a narrator, Cummings presents a statement on the relationship between the state and the citizen with multiple layers of awareness and intention. Continue reading ““they did not stop to think”: War and Indoctrination in “next to of course god america i””

Jinnah’s Choice: Partition and Muslim Nationhood

Image by Grady Pearson

Essay completed 14 December 2015

On August 11, 1947, Mohammad Ali Jinnah addressed the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan as the nation’s first President. The man who had become the face of the Indian Muslim community was appointed the new nation’s leader. Yet, the Pakistan he came to lead was very different from the state for which he had campaigned in his years as leader of the Muslim League. In his address, Jinnah said of the Partition of India, “A division had to take place… it will be proved… that was the only solution to India’s constitutional problem” (Jinnah). Jinnah had not always thought this way. The Partition of India as it occurred was not what he had worked to bring forth in the years leading up to 1947. The Partition of India was the only tenable choice Jinnah had after Britain’s departure, but it was far from his goal. The constantly changing claim of what Muslim nationhood meant, the structural peculiarities of the British Indian system of government, and the last-minute choice Jinnah faced led him to consent to the formation of a Muslim nation very different from the state he intended to create. Continue reading “Jinnah’s Choice: Partition and Muslim Nationhood”