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Constantly Risking Absurdity

Constantly Risking Absurdity

by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Analysis: Allusions

When poets refer to other great works, people, and events, it’s usually not accidental. Put on your super-sleuth hat and figure out why.

  • We've got one big (small) one in "Constantly Risking Absurdity": Charlie Chaplin or "charleychaplin man" (lines 29-30). The comedian was a big influence on Ferlinghetti's work and he sometimes sported a hat that looked quite similar to one that Chaplin often wore.
  • We know Charlie was a comedian during the silent film era, so he did a lot of ridiculous physical comedy to make up for the lack of sound. Essentially, he was a bit "absurd" and as such holds an important symbolic significance in Ferlinghetti's poem.

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