The poem addresses one of the most major concerns for individuals in any society: the fear of dying alone and without touching the heart of another person.
The main character in the poem is a lively man: "he sang his didn't he danced his did" (Cummings); however it is clear that the people around him did not notice or care about his existence: "Women and men (both little and small) cared for anybody not at all" (Ibid.). This basic premise of the poem is very simple however it reflects the plight of many people in society who try their best to live life to the fullest and simply cannot hold the attention of anyone else who wishes to share it with them. Anyone is not an outwardly timid man, nor is he particularly a social outcast, it is simply that he does not have a partner in life and the fact that "someones married their everyones" (Cummings) merely highlights the fact that Anyone was alone in a world where everyone else seemed to find happiness with other people. Anyone is aptly named because he can literally be anyone, anywhere, who struggles to be appreciated and loved by one other special person (Baum 162).
Noone is an elusive character who it eventually becomes clear does not actually exist at all. She is presented as the admirer of Anyone, at first: "Noone loved him more by moreshe laughed his joy she cried his grief" (Cummings). The children in the town comment about how Noone loved Anyone, and while this seems like it might allude to the fact that Anyone is loved by someone who he does not love in return, it becomes apparent that Noone is more of a dream that Anyone has (Deutsch 114). He thinks about the non-existent Noone who might share in his life; he carries this dream with him until his death when "Noone stooped to kiss his face" (Cummings). In this ending sentiment in the life of Anyone, the poet finally admits that Anyone's lover did not exist and this is the sad legacy in which the man leaves the world. Noone therefore exists both as a dream and as the reality of loneliness (Lennard 133).
"Anyone lived in a pretty how town" is a poignant piece of work particularly because it addresses an aspect of life that not only is apparent daily but over the course of the years, and finally in death. Cummings was able to portray his characters well in their motivations and emotions primarily because he used simple observations that call on the reader to fill in the blanks, and he used irregular syntax to give the poem a more abstract feel (Austin 45). Superficial statements used to describe the way the townspeople act and how Anyone is perceived by them are useful because they show the culmination of years of interactions between the two parties however leave those details up to the imagination of the reader. This is an excellent way to express the poem's meaning because of the assumption that the reader will sympathize with Anyone; any reader becomes Anyone and in doing so will have their own reasons why Everyone doesn't care about them. This freedom on the part of the reader makes the poem unique to every individual and therefore it has the ability to become personally significant.
Because of the way it is written, this poem does not make character motivation clear however it does create a world in which