In the poem “in Just-” by E. E. Cummings, the narrator is an anonymous observer who watches as the “balloonman” whistles and the children come running.
This narrator may be an observer, but he is not completely objective. His opinions sneak into his observations. When he speaks of spring, for example, he says that “the world is mud-luscious” and “puddle-wonderful.” This suggests that the narrator thinks that spring is a delightful time and that the mud and puddles are part of that delight.
Notice, though, what the narrator says of the “balloonman.” First, he is a “little lame balloonman.” Then, he is a “queer old balloonman.” Finally, he is a “goat-footed balloonMan.” These descriptions become more ominous as they progress. We might not think much about a little lame man whistling for the children. Perhaps he just wants to sell the children balloons. Yet the adjective “queer” introduces a note of concern. We might wonder if this man is safe or if he is a little too crazy to be around children.
The strange description of “goat-footed,” however, raises alarm, for it points to the mythological satyr, a lustful creature. The narrator is no longer lighthearted. In fact, he now suggests that the children running to respond to the man’s whistle might be in danger.