The Cockroach by Kevin Halligan

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The Cockroach by Kevin Halligan

By | Feb. 2013
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The Cockroach by Kevin Halligan, an Analysis

The poem, ‘The Cockroach’, is a short scene of a cockroach and how it made its way around a room, moving in lines and loops. It uses many different forms of imagery to portray the cockroach giving it emotion and character. Halligan also compares the cockroach to himself, leading the reader to believe that the cockroach is symbolic of life itself.

When looking at a piece of poetry, the first thing we read is the title. So in this case, one must wonder why and how Kevin Halligan chose the words he did for his title of the poem: The Cockroach. Firstly the word ‘The’ gives the reader a sense of a one specific cockroach. Not just any cockroach in general, or all cockroaches, but the one in this poem, which he describes in vivid detail. The word ‘Cockroach’, not a topic usually written about by many poets, gives readers a sense of curiosity that lures them in, thus making the title stand out. The usual connotation of cockroach being a dirty pest has been overlooked. Instead throughout the poem, Halligan’s eyes follow the cockroach, recalling all of its movements as it scurries along the dusty room floor.

Kevin Halligan repeatedly personifies the cockroach in many ways, giving it its own personality. Halligan calls the cockroach ‘he’ rather than ‘it’, possibly implying, that he thinks of the insect as more than it actually is. He gives it feelings of satisfaction, restlessness and uncertainty. Halligan also uses the word ‘jogging’ to portray its movements. Using such a human word to describe the actions of a scuttling bug, further illustrates my point. He also uses a simile to compare the cockroach’s erratic movements to that of ‘a victim of a mild attack.’ This makes the cockroach seem humanlike, able to think and make decisions. At the end of the poem, Halligan also relates the cockroach to himself: ‘Except I thought I recognized myself,’ claiming that he might’ve saw some characteristics of himself in the...