In the Snack Bar

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“In the Snackbar.” Emma Louise Gall

“In the Snackbar,” by Edwin Morgan, tells the story of an experience the poet had whilst in a Snackbar in Glasgow. He helps a disabled, old man who is struggling to go to the toilet. We have chosen this poem as it has been written as a result of an anxiety: this experience worried the poet and gave him cause for concern. Edwin Morgan used many poetic techniques, such as alliteration, onomatopoeia and similes to portray his anxieties and worries. The first stanza uses alliteration to immediately draw our attention to the old man:“A cup capsized along the formatica, Slithering with a dull clatter.” A simple cup has caused the Snackbar to fall silent and focus their attention on to the elderly man struggling to rise from the stool in which he was seated:“...crowded evening Snackbar,An old man is trying to get to his feet.” Even though there a many people in the Snackbar, no one has bothered to help the old man, and Edwin Morgan is shocked at this so decides to help the man himself. As Morgan helps this old man he starts to realise the extent of the old man’s problems, his disabilities:“Long blind, hunchback born, half paralysed, He stands.” Here we are given an idea of how many disabilities the old man actually has, but yet he still has the willpower to rise to his feet. The poet also used a simile to show us how the man looks in his old coat:“He stands in his stained beltless gabardine Like a monstrous animal caught in a tent.” This is a great use of a simile, for it gives us a frightening image of the old man, but also reveals to us that it is a struggle for him to get out of his restrictions. Edwin Morgan’s use of punctuation is also effective in shown how much of a task it is for the old man to get up:“I want - to go to – the toilet.” The dashes give us the sense that the old man is struggling for breath, but the poet...
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