In The Snack Bar Critical Essay
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In The Snack Bar "In The Snack-bar" is a poem by Edwin Morgan. It tells the story of an old, blind man's time in a snack bar in Glasgow. It tells about how he needs to trust complete strangers when he needs someone to help him do simple, everyday tasks. I'm going to look at the different techniques the poet has used and how this poem teaches us a little bit about blindness, and the embarrassment people must go through. The poem starts by telling us the old mans dirty, scruffy looking appearance and his trouble standing up. At first we don't know that he is blind, but as the first section of the poem goes on, it becomes quite clear to the reader. We then read about a perfect stranger taking this old man to the toilet and how long it took for them to get there. The stranger had to tell the man every step to take and where to go and where to stand. We are then told about how much help he needs in the toilet and the help he gets on the bus. The poet uses a range of poetic techniques to paint a vivid picture of the scenes in this poem.
This brings us to the second stanza. We are told about the journey to the toilet, and how it took a lot longer than any normal trip to the toilet. "Inch by inch we drift" gives off the impression they were moving very slowly. "Inch by inch" sounds like a slow movement and "drift" is like they were like a boat, very slowly moving out to sea. "A few yards of floor are like a landscape", to me, this is a very effective simile. It tells us that even though they weren't walking far to the old man it was like walking for miles, instead of yards. "Hiss of the coffee-machine, voices and laughter, smell of a cigar, hamburger, wet coats steaming," this inheres that the old man relies on his senses to get around as safely as possible, as well as having people help him. The poet goes on to use first person to suggest this is a real life experience that has happened to him, and that he did help the blind man. "And slowly we go down, and slowly we go down." This repetition shows that they were moving at such a slow pace, it was like slow motion, as opposed to walking at a normal pace.
The bus lets the rain drip off it as it sits in the bus stop. The third stanza finishes this poem off by telling us a little bit more about this old, blind man. "Wherever he could go it would be dark", even in the bright sunshine, the old man will only ever see darkness, he'll never know what it looks like to see light and colour. "No one sees his face." Although people do see him, they don't see him. People ignore him, because he is blind and he can't see them. And since he stands facing the ground, people wouldn't stop to offer help to him unless he was to ask. "Hands like wet leaves", this suggests that he constantly had sweaty hands and that he might have been nervous a lot of the time, and this caused him to always have wet hands. "His life depends on many who would evade him." He depended on everyone, including the people that ignored and avoided him incase he was to ask for help or walk into them. "But he cannot reckon up the chances, having one thing to do, to haul his hump through these rains of August." Even though he was blind, there was nothing he could do to change it, so he had to grin and bear it and just get on with his life.
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