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Analysis and comments on in Just- by e.e. cummings

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Comment 55 of 775, added on November 10th, 2005 at 12:20 AM.

While doing research on e. e. cummings (also presented as E. E. Cummings,)
I stumbled upon this web page and was fascinated by the various
interpretations and individual ideas that were expressed on the comments
link. Gathering from the totality of my research, I would have to say that
I have come to the conclusion that, overall, while the poem does convey the
theme of childhood/sexually cognizant maturation, it also presents an
intriguing sense of the concept of innocence, especially when juxtaposed
with cummings's other, commonly graphic and sexually explicit poetry.
Although I have identified a sexual motif in the poem, I heartily disagree
with the balloon man/pedophile idea, and I don't believe that the poem is
an attempt to showcase a perverted or disgusting sense of humor.

P.S. Andre – I think that if you want to correct the erratic internet
grammar of others, you should look first to your own “typos.” (I.e. “i”
should be ‘I,’ “english” should be ‘English,’ etcetera.) I am pointing
this out not because I really wish to be picky about spelling on the
internet, but rather because I think that it is rather rude and
hypocritical of you to call people “stupid” and berate their spelling
online. Thank you.

KM from United States
Comment 54 of 775, added on November 4th, 2005 at 1:34 PM.


Lamia Moe from United States
Comment 53 of 775, added on October 18th, 2005 at 3:36 PM.

I'm in my final year of school, and I'm doing my final setwork/poetry exam
tomorrow/today(as it's past midnight already). This poem is one of our set
poems. And I love it! Here's my interpretation, I sure as Hell hope what
our teacher taught us is right.

Okay, I don't think the words "in Just-" have anything to do with
"injustice". If you're gonna argue that, you may as well argue that the
poem was written for a friend called "Just- in" (Justin - haha, I'm not
serious, just as "injustice" is not right either). Well, everyone gets the
general idea of "mud-luscious" and "puddle-wonderful". "Little lame
balloonman" - when the kids are young, they have sympathy for the
balloonman, they're too innocent to know of any abnormalities or prejudices
that grownups may have - ie. feeling wary towards a creepy looking guy. So
to them, he's just "lame" (not lame, as in corny or stupid, lame in a
childlike way). Jumping ahead, he becomes the "queer old balloonman", now
the kids are growing up, and they're beginning to notice he's different and
strange. In the last stanza, it's the "goat-footed balloonMan". I don't
think it's Pan, I think it's Satyr, the goat-man representation of
adulthood and lust. He's not a balloonman anymore to the kids, he's now a
Man (with a capital "M"), ie. adulthood, lust, no more innocence. They're
grown up, and he's completely foreign to them, they're wary and afraid of

"Whistles far and wee" in the 2nd stanza, there's only spaces between
the "far", emphasizing how much distance his whistling is carrying (maybe),
but the point is that there's a normal space between the "and wee". In the
3rd (?) stanza, it's "far and wee" and the spaces are bigger - meaning,
as the kids are growing up and seeing balloonman in a new light, they
aren't as quick and eager to come running to him. In the last stanza,
there're complete lines separating the "far and wee", meaning now they've
grown up, they don't come to his call anymore. The spaces just go on
forever, like his whistles reaching no ones ears.

Random stuff: Firstly, "Spring" meaning growth, vitality, the growth of
children into adulthood. The "eddieandbill" and "bettyandisbel" is
representing the closeness of the friends. But, in the 2nd stanza, when
they're still young, the boys coming "running" (fast, excited) from
"marbles and piracies (Haha, - piracy is a crime *cough*) and those are
imaginative games. In the next stanza, the girls coming dancing (slower
than running, and they're focusing on their dancing, sort of preoccupied,
not fully interested on balloonman) and they come from "hop-scotch and
jump-rope" and those are more practical games. When children grow up, they
lose their innocence, and ability to dream - sort of. And in the last
stanza, no kids are mentioned, 'cause they've grown up and no one comes

Hope this wasn't too long, and I hope I'm right! I don't think anyone will
ever know. But I hope this maybe helped someone, but then again, this is
just my interpretation! ^_^

Katy (17) from South Africa
Comment 52 of 775, added on October 17th, 2005 at 5:25 PM.

The stupidity of some of you amazes me. While i think the poem is open to
interpretations, maybe some of you should learn to use proper english
(typing "you" instead of "u" isn't that hard, and kids who don't understand
the poem don't look here for help, didnt you read the rules before posting?
no homework help). On the other hand, some of you have very interesting
interpretations of the poem. here is mine:
"Goat-Footed" refers to the Greek god Pan, who is a man above the waist and
has the form of a goat below the waist. He is the God of nature as well as
herding. Traditionally, nature in poems has served as a symbol for purity
and that which is untouched by the corruption of mankind. Wouldn't this
seem to make sense to go along with the theme of a child's purity? Also, he
is the god of herding and sheparding; in a way he shepards the children who
have come out to play on a lovely spring day. The title, in Just refers to
the injustice of growing old. While the children play and have fun, the man
is still working, despite the happy atmosphere. This is my take on it, i'm
not saying its right or wrong.

Andre from United States
Comment 51 of 775, added on October 17th, 2005 at 1:42 PM.

In the first line the words 'in just' make you think of injustice-this
suggests that the little lame balloonman has suffered from the injustice of
not being able to play and experience childhood like the children mentioned
in the poem.

He therefore brings joy and happiness to them by travelling far
distances(far and wee)
to bring them balloons- he brings them the joy and happiness that he
couldnt experience as a child himself as he was crippled(lame-goat footed)

He also doesnt want ant sympathy for being 'lame' as it brings him joy by
bringing joy to other small children.

Ruby from South Africa
Comment 50 of 775, added on October 10th, 2005 at 3:17 PM.

In the first stanza he says “when the world is mudlicious” meaning that
children can come out to enjoy the beginning of spring. The little lame
balloon man can be described as a person that is handing out balloons of
fun. Then the next stanza describes to very good friends playing and
stopping what they are doing to go and receive their balloons. The last
line of the second stanza says “and its spring” means that everything is
just grateful in life when its spring. The line that separates the second
stanza and the third stanza suggests that everything is just joyful for
children. The second to last stanza describes the same thing of the first
two stanzas of how spring is growing, new, and amazing for children.
Finally the last stanza will start the whole process of children stopping
what they are doing to acquire their balloon of fun.

Tom from United States
Comment 49 of 775, added on September 25th, 2005 at 1:24 PM.

I think that the poem refers to the transition of Spring in the perspective
of the children. Like Christmas, when kids grow up, they see events such as
Christmas or in this case, SPring, as something trivial. The magic or
spirit of that season gets lost. That is why notice the spacing in "far and
wee". It gets farther and farther. This is the whistling made by Pan (who
is the allusion for the balloonman) who has reeds. He is the GOd of Nature
and also music, and he epitomizes spring since as mentioned, he is the GOd
of Nature. In Just is a compact way of saying: "When spring is finally
here." Pan is represented as a balloonman probably because a balloonman is
a figure that entices and excites the kid regardless of his sex. So as the
children grows up they deem the balloonman to be a mythical figure, since
like Spring, they see it to be a myth then, nothing real or special.

Peachie from Philippines
Comment 48 of 775, added on September 25th, 2005 at 8:55 AM.

my teacher is asking me about the speaker,setting,purpose,stylistic and
conflict.but the problem is that i have no idea about it.i need help anyone
please,and thank u to anyone who helpa me.

k from Greece
Comment 47 of 775, added on September 7th, 2005 at 9:52 PM.

The poem is about how innocence is fooled by flashyy happy figures.THe
author tried to paint everything wth happiness to cover the bad motives of
the ballonman. l8ter he revieled tht the ballonman is like pan lascivous
and lustful though free spirited.. jomar

jomar decastro from Philippines
Comment 46 of 775, added on August 30th, 2005 at 4:26 PM.

Notice that the word 'spring' always appears separate from the other words.
It's akin to a disconnect -- as if the children (or something else) are cut
off from the 'mud-luscious' and 'puddle-wonderful' nature of spring though
they'd like to immerse their juvenile curiosity in it. Or 'spring' can
refer to the walking motion a goat-footed old balloonman might make...i.e.
'springing' or lurching forward. Additionally, 'far and wee' morphs into
'far and wee' and finally so that 'far' is on top, 'and' is in the middle
and 'wee' is below, which suggests capture or a change in the distance
between what is far and what is wee. Also notice that 'balloonman' becomes
'balloonMan', which implies a change in the relative size of the satyr to
the children. Methinks this poem is meant to be queer (i.e. odd) and in so
doing, Cummings is teasing the innocence of childhood with suggested
pedophilia...and he's using this as a way to suggest the violation of
nature (the children) by rationality (the misshapen goat-footed lecher).

Joshua from United States

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Information about in Just-

Poet: e.e. cummings
Poem: in Just-
Added: Jan 31 2004
Viewed: 5391 times
Poem of the Day: Aug 31 2000

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