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The Cockroach

In: English and Literature

Submitted By prettylildevil
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Discuss how the poet conveys their message in a poem you have read
In life, we often think of cockroaches as revolting and disgusting insects. When we read the title of the poem “The cockroach” we immediately have negative opinions. However, Kevin Halligan sees through the revolt and instead, relates to the cockroach throughout the poem. Halligan crafted the poem carefully to convey a message to the readers that we never stop wanting more. He also managed to relate a nasty insect we often despise to a human being that embraces much more respect. So how he uses a cockroach to convey his message?

Right at the beginning of the poem in the first sentence, Halligan quotes that the cockroach is “giant” which forces us to think why such a useless insect is said to be “giant.” This word hints to us that in this context the cockroach is more than what we’d usually imagine and the cockroach is elevated to a higher status. This idea is sustained when the cockroach is given an pronoun “he.” A cockroach is usually called an “it” whereas Halligan presents him at a higher level. The verbs “jog” and “climb” also help to mirror actions of a human fortifying that the cockroach was supposed to represent a human. At the end of the poem it is proven to us that the cockroach represents him shown by the quote “I thought I recognized myself.” This leads us to a new idea as to why Halligan uses a cockroach to characterize a human.

The cockroach is liable to repetition and routine shown in the quote “circling the rusty table leg and back.” The quote signifies that the cockroach has got no intentions and is going nowhere implying boredom and constantly seeking for something more. The adjective “rusty” indicates that the cockroach had been bored for a long time and is searching for something new. This initiates a theme of time, which is presented throughout the poem. It is shown in the…...

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