The Cockroach

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  • Created by: Heather
  • Created on: 05-05-14 18:18

The Cockroach

Writer: Kevin Halligan-His collections of poems are based on his travels and the sights,

Summary: The poet writes an allegorical poem about the cockroach in his house. He observes the actions of the cockroach and notes its actions and at the end of the poem he realises the reflection of the cockroach on himself- the cockroach is ignored by society-How he feels,

Form: There is a lack of a clear stanza which could portray the poet's feelings that he is a cockroach so is insignificannt and ignored by society. There is an ABAB rhyming scheme until the 9th stanza and then it loses its rhyming scheme which could indicate a sudden sense of the poet being startled that the cockroaches actions are similar to his own. Or, it could indicate that life is actually really boring and the rhyme scheme breaks in the climax of the poem. There it then a vague scheme coming back when he rhymes 'go' with 'know' which shows after the climax, all there is to do is go back to normal,

Tone: Bored at the beginning of the poem as he looks at the actions of the cockroach. At first he is monotonous due to the absence of adventure and struggle in his life.He then becomes curious then starts to contemplate the meaning, as well as the cockroaches, meaning of life as he watches the emptiness of the cockroach. Later on, his tones becomes lively and the pace increases slightly and the voice becomes smoother- he rarely uses Caesura,

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The Cockroach

Language and Imagery:

  • 'Skirting a ball of dust'-Portrays the cockraoch as being capable of avoiding obstacles adn hardship by detour but as it is a 'ball of dust that rode on the floor' so it is an accumulating object which means if it isn't tackled now, it will be much harder to overcome in the future which is similar to humans who try to take the easy way but find their work builds up in the future,
  • 'At first he seemed quite satisified to trace a path between the wainscot and the door. But soon he truned to jog in crooked rings'-At first the cockroach is happy with its life and is content doing the small things in life without trouble which shows why humans sometimes take our time to enjoy the things in life which are so small. Then the cockroach suddenly started being agitated and starts to go into a slow jog. It goes into 'crooked rings' which shows it is agitated, confused and restless and shows uncertainty which exaggerates that in life we have our highs and lows as we are happy at one time with something then we become agitated and wonder about our meaning in life,
  • 'Circling the rusty table leg and back' This shows the cockroach is agitated, confused and restless and is uncertain of where to go so returns the way he cames which in life, many people do when they feel uncertain, they return to comfort which they know is safe and secure. The 'rusty table leg' implies that there are dangers and horrible things in life which you do have to face, like the cockroach,
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The Cockroach

  • 'And flipping right over to scratch his wings- As if a victim of a mild attack/ Of restlessness that worsened over time' This further emphasizes the restlessness of the cockroach and its sudden need to do something with its life before it dies. The idea it straches its wings is similar to when he scratch our heads when stressed or confused. It could also show that the cockroach is a giant metaphor about his feelings as in religion, re-encarnation of a cockraoch is very low so maybe the poet feels punished like he is guilty of something,
  • 'After a while, he climbed an open shelf'-This indicates a sudden sense of hardship as the cockroach is climbing something big and implies a sense of progress as it is doing something productive with its life. The 'open shelf' has a capacity to store useful objects which suggests the cockroach's vast potential and the vast potential of the writer,. The first caesura emphasizes the cockroaches success.
  • 'And stopped. He looked uncertain where to go.' The caesura shows the cockroach has finished its success more dramatically and has nothing left to look for. the author sees this as a curse that we have in our lives and he hated the emptiness and lack of feeling. The line realtes to the feeling of uncertainty and anxiety that the cockroach felt previously.
  • 'Except, i thought I recognised myself'-He is comparing his life to the cockroaches and is drawing connections between the experience of the animal and his human experience and the animal represents an idea as a symbol,
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The Cockroach

Links: 'Hunting snake' in the sense they both make you contemplate life and the way you interpet the way you look at others or your own life and 'Continuum' as there is a more depressing mood to it in the sense that you dont feel morally attached. In both poems there is no emotional attachment at all,

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