She Being Brand by E.E. Cummings - BA English Notes

In the poem “she being Brand” by E.E. Cummings, the speaker describes his sexual experience with an inexperienced woman through an extended metaphor of fueling and driving a car.

In the first stanza, the speaker introduces his sexual partner. He first describes her as being “Brand-new” which caused him to be “careful of her” (1-5).

This alludes to the fact that the girl is probably a young virgin who is about to experience her first time with the more experienced and older speaker.

The speaker makes an effort to be gentle with this girl who is “consequently a little stiff” (3).

The girl is a little nervous due to her lack of sexual knowledge so the speaker tries to make her more comfortable.

In the following triplet followed by an isolated line, the speaker introduces the extended metaphor of the car. Before their sexual adventure, he “oiled the universal joint” and “made sure her springs were O.K” (6-9).

These two metaphors refer to how the speaker both prepares himself and checks in on his partner. Oiling his joint will make for an easier ride.

This limits the pain and anxiety for the amateur virgin. These two metaphors also show how even though the speaker is in complete control of the situation, he is still very gentle.

Instead of depicting an image of an aggressive love-making, he paints the image of a delicate and sensitive sexual experience.

In the next stanza, the speaker describes this erotic experience through the continued metaphor of driving a car.

Just as the couple turns “the corner of Divinity avenue” the speaker “touche[s] the accelerator and gives [s] her the juice” (21-23).

The metaphor of “Divinity avenue” is a reference to how the sex is so great, it is a God-like transforming experience.

She Being Brand

However, it could also be a referral back to the fact that this girl is a virgin and like Mary, she has a divine sense about her that makes her special.

The speaker ends the poem with the finale of their sexual activity.

He states that “it was the first ride” and “ we were happy to see how nice she acted right up to the last minute” (24-26).

By communicating that this was “the first ride”, the speaker makes it known that this is the first time he sleeps with her and most likely the first time she has ever slept with any man.

He depicts sex as a positive and “happy” experience for both himself and his partner. The erotic story of this couple’s first time is one that began with nervous attitudes but ended with pleasure.
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