The poem “The cockroach”, written by Kevin Halligan, is a meaningful and interesting poem. As a Buddhist convert, the poet has use the journey of the cockroach to describe many aspects of human life. Initially, Halligan presents human life as joyful and excited in the childhood . A good illustration of this when Halligan uses the phrases “skirting a ball of dust”, “satisfied” and “start to pace” to present it. As we all know, the cockroach represent humanity and his journey is an extended metaphor for human life.
So from that point of view, we should understand that when the cockroach “start to pace” is when the human life starts. In childhood, we can have fun by do meaningless things with no specific goal just like the cockroach “skirt [‘s] a ball of dust” and “satisfy” with that game. Children have their parental protection and they have nothing to worry about. Life was so easy, innocent and relaxed at that period of life. For the rest of the poem – which also represents the rest of the life time – we cannot see other words that use to describe the positive feelings of the cockroach.
So maybe for Halligan, childhood was the most unaware stage of the entire human life. And through the poem, the readers can feel that this stage was short-lived. Secondly, Halligan shows that after childhood, life only remain with many dramas and tough decision. For example, the poet describe that on the cockroach’s journey, he “jog [‘s] in crooked ring”, and “scratch his wings” as he’s a “victim of a mild attack”. This show that sometimes in their life, humans lose their goal, lost their direction or met a drama that they don’t know what to do next but “circling the rusty table” – just like the cockroach.
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And a result of the loss of direction, the cockroach “scratch [‘es] his wings”, this is similar with how drama leave us with a bad mental health. Yet in life, we have to face a lot of drama and different kind of it. We can have drama like broken heart, the loss of a relative, failure in career… Day after day, we cannot get rid of the depression it cause and the “restlessness that worsened over time”. Life after childhood continues but with more problems, and we cannot go through it easily . Human can get lost and they cannot get out of their own dramas . The persona now portrays human life as difficult and full of crises.
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