"A Thirst Against" contains a literary allusion to William Shakespeare's play Hamlet. An allusion may be a reference to a character from another work, which an author uses to make a point come alive more clearly. In this poem, Gregg alludes to Hamlet and Ophelia as examples of two people with contradictory points of view who, in the end, are "both lost." Hamlet is too heavy, and Ophelia too frail. These characters enable the poet to show examples of her point about the hunger for order and the thirst against it, providing broad backgrounds that illustrate Gregg's ideas without having to include much about the characters in the poem itself.