My essay is based on the poem wrote by Norman MacCaig ' Hotel Room Twelth Floor '. This stanza is a full visual description of what he sees. At the point he wrote the poem he was in a pessimistic state of mind as his words and description create a negative image inside your head.
" This morning " and " now midnight has come " lend a sense of immediacy to the poem. This helps to communicate the panic that the poet feels. The negativity helps establish the mood of the poem.We can feel the poet's anxiety as night seems to arrive quickly. He makes suggestions that evil seems to come with darkness " from foreign places ".
It comes across as a battle of some kind i.e. " the city is under attack from an unknown enemy ". He states names of important buildings such as ' the Empire State Building ' and ' the Pam Am skyscraper ' which immediately lets you know he is in the glamorous city that is New York.He explains how ' the marvels of New York ' are laid out before him.
MacCaig deliberately wants us to see past the glitzy, glamorous life styles of ' The Big Apple ' and make us aware of the darkness that lies beneath the surface. " Helicopters skinting like a damaged insect " this similie is effective as the sound that the helicopter makes resembles that of a damaged insect. This cannotes the idea of this glamorous city, behind the wealth and sophistication, is simply evil and crime infested.In the second stanza MacCaig is lying between the radio and the television and he uses sound to create the atmosphere of night time in New York. ' But ' acts as a linking word between stanza one and stanza two. It also acts as a turning point as the " darkness " refuses to be defeated.
" Midnight is not so easily defeated ", this personiphication links back to feel as if society is beyond redemption. He feels as though he is surrounded by violence and there is no escape. He compares the police and ambulances sirens to that of Native American tribes, i.e. " Wildest of Warwhoops ". This shows the uncivilised nature of the streets.
" Glittering Canyons and Gulches " describes the streets and implies that the streets of New York are just as dangerous as they were in the wild west." Broken bones ", " blood glazed " and " harsh screaming ", these synecdoches represent depersonalised suffering. As if those that deal with violence see ' only ' " broken bones " or " blood glazed ". Nowadays society tend to disregard the ' person ' who they are dealing with. " Cold water flats " suggest poorer areas of the city. ' Toying ' with the assumption that violence and crime is mostly found in poorer areas to that of wealthy areas.
The last stanza functions as a powerful and effective conclusion to the whole poem. " The frontier is never somewhere else ", this links back to the extended metaphor of the wild west. It suggests that evil can be found in all of us and nobody can escape the darkness, that we are no more civilised as the cowboys and Native Americans in the ' Wild West '. This is a metaphor of what we fear in violence, suffering, decay and that evil is lying under our core.
The theme is to attack the materialistic attitude of society. It shows that the darker side of society is much larger than the bright side but we choose to ignore the violence and hassle that happens all around us. He shows that true brutalisation of the citizens in the city.There is no escape there is evil in all of us and we cannot escape the darkness, as MacCaig says " midnight is not so easy to defeat ", maybe even impossible.
We can never really escape from the darkness eventually it gets to us all. MacCaig makes that ever so clear in his short poem of uncivilisation in the glamorous city of New York.My conclusion is that MacCaig has truly captured the essence and truth about the crime infested streets of New York and has enlightened us of the truth about the glamorous city. We cant hide from the darkness no matter how hard we try.
Evil is in all of us, you just don't know it yet.