In this essay, I will be analysing the two poems, the cockroach by K.Halligan and Westminster Bridge, by William Wordsworth published on September 3, 1802, in the collection Poems in Two Volumes in 1807. The two poems both reflect on either the environment or the creatures of the environment. Westminister bridge is based upon the bridge in London that is so peaceful but the chaos added by the busy city, disrupts its beauty, while The Cockroach expresses the relation of the human cycle within an outlooked insect known as the cockroach. The two poems share a theme of peace and finding relaxation or were written in a relaxed atmosphere. This essay will analyse how the poet has used stylistic devices throughout the poem to convey a message about personal relationships or thoughts.
For the start of our analysis, I would like us to focus on the subject and purpose of the poems. Looking at the cockroach, the poet Halligan senses the emotions and thoughts of the cockroach, as well as its behaviours ‘he seems quite satisfied’ showing that he is examing the cockroach as if it were a human. He uses the sentence, ‘between the wainscot and the door’ as a symbol to calm paths that are taken and followed at the beginning of life for humans. Although, the insect ‘starts to jog in crooked rings’, the poet aimed to demonstrate the build-up of confusion in a human mind as we continue to grow from being small to grown-ups. The purpose of his poem is to show the lifestyle of the cockroach and its relation to human life, and how it represents the human cycle. It demonstrates on how at the beginning of life you are given a clear path in life and as we start to grow and develop we face challenges and our minds become consumed with confusion, denying us from finishing our journey. On the other hand, the poem Westminster Bridge is based on the poet declaring his findings of the most beautiful scenery on earth. It is written in the quietness of London, ‘the very houses seem asleep.’ , while other buildings and landmarks are infants to him as they grandeur in the morning light, without the chaos of London to obscure the view. The poet contrasts the sunlight on the buildings to the light that shines onto the countryside, but still, he finds himself at most peace within the bustling city. This poem aims to indicate that you can find peace within yourself even in busy places and nature always has a way to direct your stress and emotions away and allow you to experience the calmness of nature and admire its natural beauty.
In this part, we will look at the type of language used to convey a message to the audience. The Westminster Bridge conceits of a lot of punctuation, either including commas, semi-colons and exclamation points, acting as a limitation to how quickly the poem must be read. The poet uses vast amounts of imagery that is richly flourished, eg. ‘This City now doth, like a garment, wear’. It provides the reader with the idea of slumber and quietness, and he uses the phrase ‘bright and glittering’ to illuminate the image give a divine air and the discretion of the sun ‘sun more beautifully steep’. Usually, London is not considered to be a place of beauty. Wordsworth adds no reference to people being in the area, implying that once people are taken out of the equation, London could be a place of great beauty. At the end of the poem, he is stunned into complete silence by the beauty ‘Dear God!’. Using the exclamation to bring the point forward and what he has been trying to communicate throughout the whole poem, that the beauty of London in the airy morning is a stunning sight and one that should be seen to be believed. Although, since halligan lived in Uganda the poem allows us to understand why the insect is overlooked because they hang around horrible dirty places. The language used is significantly based on personification, because, in the beginning, the poet describes the insects as ‘it’, but as we get to the last stanza he describes it as ‘he’ indicating that he has found the human relationships in the insect. He displays the cockroach as a metaphor for human life and is humanising it through personification.
This perspective allows the audience to identify the human emotions and feelings that insects could be applying.
In this part, we will look at the text types. The two poems were both written in relaxed atmospheres. The structure of Westminster was a sonnet, but sonnets are usually romantic poems. The poem was written with honesty and admiration. The structured cockroach method used conveyed the lack of uncertainty and focused the cockroach had. The theme of the poem is nature, although Halligan feels lost and directionless the humidification of the cockroach also has the effect of animalising man.
In conclusion, the two poems use subject, purpose, language and text types to convey their message of finding relaxation in the environment around us. And humans possible have the same life cycle as most insects that are overlooked.