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Word Count: 1,386
The ordinary practitioners of the city live down below the thresholds at which visibility beginsthey are walkers wandesrmaenner whose bodies follow the thicks and thins of an urban text In Modern Times Charlie Chaplins character is the quintessential walker His home is the public places of the city In this sense he could be easily compared to Walter Benjamins Flaneur However his role as a working class laborer searching for money food and shelter denies him the freedom of the flaneur and sets him apart from him The flaneur is essentially a middle class romantic A person who is enchanted by the teeming crowds of the city while still possessing the economic privilege to stand outside of it looking in Chaplins character is a proletarian a man defined by his labour in much the same way as a machine He is a commodity His dual role of Flaneur and proletarian are represented in his directorial choice of images and dialogue as well as the unique physical style of his little tramp He walks the streets in search of not cheap thrills or idle entertainment like the typical flaneur Instead he seeks a job that will give definition to his rootless existence In Walter Benjamins essay The Flaneur the author suggests that the first literary endeavor of this new species of city dweller was panorama literature or physiologies In these texts different classes creeds and breeds of the new and unfamiliar Industrial Age were simplified into differing groups of innocuous caricatures Benjamin suggests that there were quite weighty motives for this style of anthropology Someone who sees without hearing is much more uneasy than someone who hears without seeing In the new city strangers were suddenly thrust together The most extreme example of this being the new technologies of transportation On buses and trains people were forced to look at these threatening strangers for long minutes or even hours It was comforting to be
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