Visiting Hour, Unpleasant Side of Life

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The poem I chosen to write about is “Visiting Hour” by Norman McCaig as it shows the aspect of the less pleasant side of life through the writer’s experience of his visit to an ill relative in the hospital. McCaig shows the cruel harsh side of life through word choice and imagery in this personal poem. The first example of this is at the beginning of the poem “What seems a corpse

is trundled into a lift and vanishes
“heavenward.” The first way he shows the harshness of life is through the word choice in this stanza. “corpse” tells us that he no longer acknowledges the body as a once living person, but as a shell no longer with a name or family. This may tell us a bit about his spiritual beliefs as he thinks the spirit has left the body which is only a shell. The use of “trundled” makes for a hard almost dragging feel to the way in which the trolley the body is laid on is pushed into the lift. It is also a harder word than other which could have been used in its place, his adds to the way the writer conveys the less pleasant side of life or in this case death to the patient or “corpse”. “heavenward” is a very clever way in which to describe the orientation of the elevator, instead of saying up he used heavenward instead as it is a dead body. This also reminds us the person is no longer alive and helps show the other bad side of life. The following stanza reads

“I will not feel, I will not
feel, until
I have to.” I think this is McCaig preparing for the pain to come instead of feeling the shock, horror and pain of things he may see before finally seeing his ill relative in “Ward 7” Norman McCaig then comments on the nurses

“Nurses walk lightly, swiftly,
here and up and down and there,
their slender waists miraculously
carrying their burden
of so much pain, so
many deaths, their eyes
still clear after
so many farewells.” Here is an example of how the writer can show the frantic work and panic in the hospital from using strange sentence structure...
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