ENGLISH LITERATURE QUESTION- HOW HAS THE POET USED THE EXTENDED METAPHOR OF THE COCKROACH TO CONVEY HIS PERCEPTION OF HUMAN EXISTANCE? IN YOUR ANSWER PAY ATTENTION TO HOW POETIC DEVICES HAVE BEEN USED. ANSWER The poem ‘The Cockroach’ is a sonnet written by Kevin Halligan. It is written in the iambic pentameter as there are ten syllables in each line and as it mostly follows the pattern of the syllables being unstressed and then stressed.
For example the line “ I (unstressed) watched (stressed) a (unstressed) gi-ant (stressed-unstressed) cock-roach (stressed-unstressed) start (stressed) to (unstressed) pace (stressed). The poem includes a few literary devices like personification as he gives the cockroach human conditions throughout the poem, a simile and a metaphor. The poem starts with the poet getting monopolized by the cockroach. The way the cockroach tries to dodge the dirt by taking a detour, it makes it seem as though he actually cared about hygiene and is proven to be perceptive and intelligent.
He then brings about a change in the cockroach’s traits. His anxiety could be identified with the restlessness of the cockroach, as the poet’s sense of anguish could be the reason of the various troubles that gripped him. When the poet’s eyes fell upon the restless cockroach, it reminded him of himself. Sometimes, just like the cockroach, he tried to avoid things whether it was a person or trouble. The poet was restless as well.
The poet felt that he resembled the cockroach when the cockroach had climbed up onto the shelf and was uncertain about where he wanted to go as though he was having a private conflict in his mind of which path he shall chose. Life is a journey of twists and turns and the poet has witnessed this at some point in his life. Therefore he identifies with the cockroach. Throughout the poem, the poet uses an extended metaphor to convey his perception of human conditions.