Lines 16-25 Summary

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Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 189

Lines 16-25

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Humor and irony are at work in this poem. Readers don't expect a man arrested for a petty crime to even have the opportunity to perform in court. His performance is funny for two reasons: first, because it involves a puppet show, something usually associated with children and, often, silliness; second, because he performs in a courtroom, a place conventionally associated with somber and dry activity. The detectives' and court clerks' response to the performance is also humorous, as they ‘‘rolled on the floor.’’ It is ironic that these people bought puppets and whistles from the man because they are part of the very system that is prosecuting him for selling them. The detectives and court clerks are linked to the crowds that came to see the man perform in shopping areas in that they also belong to the working class. By buying puppets and responding to him the way they do the detectives and clerks show their allegiance to the values of the working class. They demonstrate that although they work for the state, they are not its puppets who blindly behave as they are directed.

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