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In The Snack-Bar By Edwin Morgan - review

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In The Snack-Bar By Edwin Morgan Edwin Morgan's poem "In the Snack-Bar," tells the story of a multiply disabled old man needing to go to the toilet and of the struggles he faces in similar situations everyday of his life. The poet uses a variety techniques such as similes, repetition, near repetition and direct speech to make the reader more aware of the issue of the plight of the disabled in society today. However, before I look at these techniques in more detail, I will give a brief summary of the poem. The poem is set in an everyday snack bar, where a severely disabled old man knocks a cup off the table whilst struggling to his feet to go to the toilet. Although some people may argue that the man purposely knocked the cup over, as a plea for help to the people around him. The narrator in this poem is kind enough to help this man on his journey. It takes a long time to walk to the toilet because the man is "long blind, hunchback born, half paralysed" and he can't move fast. ...read more.


It is effective because it clearly creates the image of how grotesquely disfigured the man looks with his hunchback straining against the material of his coat, in the same way a giant magical creature like a dragon would if it were caught in a tent and pressing up against the side. The second simile is, "a few yards of floor are like a landscape to be negotiated." This simile creates the picture of the man finding it incredibly difficult to cross the floor, as difficult as an ordinary person would find it to cross a landscape of rocks and boulders. The final and shortest simile in the poem is, "his hands like wet leaves." In my opinion, this is the best simile in the poem because Morgan uses the fewest words possible, but it still creates a clear image of how weak this man actually is. It takes absolutely no strength whatsoever to fold or bend wet leaves, therefore the reader can only imagine how frail and weak the man is. ...read more.


The final technique that I found interesting is the way in which Morgan puts himself in the position of the blind man, "I concentrate my life to his." This helps the reader to understand just what it is like to be blind and disabled, because of the way in which Morgan describes the journey and what they hear and feel along the way, "crunch of spilled sugar," "hiss of the coffee-machine" and "smell of cigars." I think in many ways this is the most effective technique used because it allows the reader to be more involved in the poem and it invites the reader to think about these people in society and what they go through. Throughout this poem Morgan made it clear that the issue he wants to get across is the plight of the disabled in society today. He emphasised this by his use of the simile, repetition, direct speech and his way of making himself become the disabled man. This poem really made me think of what the disabled go through and it made me more liable to help them in the future. Elspeth Renfrew In the Snack-Bar Mr Cook ...read more.

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