The Cockroach- By Kevin Haligan
Explore the metaphorical significance of the insect in the poem
The sonnet, “the cockroach”; written by Kevin Haligan, is an extended metaphor. Through anthropomorphism, the human life cycle is symbolized, and mimicked by the insect. This essay will fully explore the metaphorical significance of the insect. The insect metaphorically signifies the poet’s life. Being a sonnet, the poem is split up, into 2 parts (the first part is split into two, technically making it three parts); the First octave (two quartaves) and the second sextave. These parts each represent a different phase in the human life cycle. The first quartave representing Young adulthood and pre-professionalism, the second quartave representing mid-adult hood and professionalism, finally the last sextave representing middle age; this isn’t the last phase of human life, but can be assumed to be the phase the poet is living when he wrote the poem In the first quartave the poet hyperbole describes the cockroach as a ‘giant’ cockroach, this signifies the world view of himself when in his early life, when the cockroach is ‘giant’ everything around it is small, and that’s most likely how the poet felt in his younger year; he felt like a giant, he felt in control. The idea of being in control is achieved by the phrase ‘Skirting a ball of dust’; the word skirting suggests that the cockroach has full control during this phase of the poem. This metaphorically links to the phase of the human life cycle, when we are presented with the illusion of full control, when in reality ‘skirting a ball of dust’ isn’t a very large display of control at all, even for a cockroach. The quartave ends highlighting, how during this phase, so far from the end of the life cycle, the cockroach has already planned its journey, and is satisfied to conform to the path “between the wainscot and the door”; this...
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