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In the poem in Just, (1) the balloon man whistles and children come running. On the surface, this could simply be about a man selling balloons and children wanting to buy them.

But we know that e. e. cummings was Christian (2). And in a lot of Christian imagery, the Devil is represented with cloven hooves (3), just like the balloon man.

So the balloon man calls, and the children (innocents) come, drawn by the allure of balloons (a childhood delight).

Does the Balloon Man represent the Devil, seducing the innocent with delights so that they will follow him?

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    I'd have though, if one were looking for religious references that Pan might be nearer the mark. en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pan_(god) Searching the terms 'god', 'pan' and 'balloons' brings up references to this poem. – Spagirl Jul 29 '17 at 20:52
  • I can understand that, but we know that e. e. cummings was a very strong Christian, so it is quite possible that he was making reference to Christian mythology rather than Greko-Roman. People often use the God Pan, and the goat-footed image of the Christian Devil interchangeably, but I have never seen any evidence that they were originally intended to be used in that way (If there is, and I have missed it, please post it? I would be very interested). – KittenWithAWhip Jul 30 '17 at 8:13
  • The bit I forgot to mention was that Pan is associated with a flute or pipes and the devil isn't. – Spagirl Jul 30 '17 at 8:25
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    Also the fact that Pan is associated with Spring and fertility, which the devil isn't. Boys and girls called from their childish playtimes by a goat-footed character playing a whistle sounds, to me, more like sexual awakening than children being stolen away by satan. – Spagirl Jul 30 '17 at 8:54
  • I know about Pan and flutes. But it only mentions whistling, not flutes. I don't see the sexual awakening, myself. Can you maybe explain a little more? I'm curious. – KittenWithAWhip Jul 31 '17 at 7:05

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