E. E. Cummings depicts a girl Maggie in his poem maggie and milly and molly and may, who finds stress relief through listening to the song in a shell at the beach (Cummings 3-4). Even though a sound in a shell is merely a distortion of sound, it is ironically said that the sound heard through a shell is that of the ocean. Maggie, apparently believing that this distortion is some sort of primordial song, is hearing both the “ocean” in the shell, and the real ocean by her side, receiving a double dose of the ocean sounds’ medicating effects. Something so simple as sound therapy is enough to mesmerize a Maggie and allow her to forget about her issues that lie on land, away from the comforts of the ocean. Without stress, Maggie embodies Cummings’ lines at the end of the poem, “For whatever we lose (like a you or a me) / it’s always ourselves we find in the sea” (Cummings 11-12). In that moment of listening, Maggie is able to exist happily, temporarily relieved of...
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Schneiderman, Neil, Ironson, Gail, and Siegel, Scott D. "Stress and Health: Psychological, Behavioral, and Biological Determinants." Annual Review of Clinical Psychology. 1. (2005): 607-28. Print.
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