The poets’ presentation of animals in The Cockroach and Pike
The poem The Cockroach can be interpreted in two ways. The first, more obvious meaning is that the poet is watching a cockroach “pace” around the floor. However after a closer analysis the reader understands that the poet uses the “giant” cockroach as a metaphor to describe himself and his life. Through his choice of structure, language and various literary devices, the poet can convey his message to the readers effectively and shape their thoughts and reactions on the subject.
The poem is written in the form of a sonnet. Although at first this seems to confine the poet and limit his detail and content, thus having a less powerful impact on the reader, it does the opposite. The rigid restrictions allow the poet to condense his message and ideas into fourteen lines, which not only makes the poem more dramatic but also emphasizes his reflections. The slight change in rhythm from the octave to sestet helps to highlight the change in the cockroach’s movements, or the poet’s life. The regular rhythm in the octave also helps to set the pace of the cockroach.
In the first quatrain the poet describes the beginning of his life. “Quite satisfied” implies that he was happy with his life then, and the verb “to trace” suggests that there was a clear “path”, mentioned in line four, set out for him and he was guided from one stage of his life to the next; just like how the cockroach walks “a path between the wainscot and the door”. The second quatrain starts off with “but soon”. The “but” signifies a turning point in the poet’s life, and he “turned” away from the clear path and instead tries to “jog in crooked rings”. This suggests that at this point in time he was confused. By placing the “but” at the beginning of the sentence he is emphasizing it, letting the readers know its importance.
The poet uses many human-like verbs such as “jog” to describe the cockroach’s actions, once again hinting that the...