Visiting Hour

1034 Words5 Pages
In “Visiting Hour” by Norman MacCaig, the poet very effectively shows the emotions of the hospital visitor without ever mentioning them directly. He does this through the use of figures of speech, imagery, punctuation and word choice. The very first line of the poem shows the strength of the smell in the building through personification, as “The hospital smell combs my nostrils.” The discomfort of this is seen in a humorous way as the nose stands out in another technique, synecdoche as we are given a picture of “My nostrils as they go bobbing along green and yellow corridors.” In the first verse the poet also uses the sense of sight, as the visitor sees “Green and yellow corridors” And those specific colours together make you think of the season spring, which also connects to Easter and Jesus rising from the dead, symbolising new life. Hope for the patient that he may be getting out of hospital soon. Verse two begins with a shock for the visitor as he sees “What seems a corpse.” The use of the verb “trundled” is used to suggest to the reader that the patient is getting treated as id she is already dead and that there is no hope for her at all. This suggests that the person could be dead especially as the lift “vanishes heavenward.” However it could simply be that they are moving her up to a different ward. She may be getting moved to intensive care because she might be getting more ill. We see that the visitor is very upset by this sight in the way that the lines are divided up and punctuation is used in verse three as he repeats the words, “I will not feel, I will not feel; until I have to.” What the visitor is trying not to do is to show any type of emotion and not to cry. This is ... ... middle of paper ... ...n such as “the books that will not be read.” This shows that he thinks the woman is unlikely to recover. The technique used towards the end of the poem is oxymoron as the two words side by side contradict one another in “fruitless fruits.” Fruitless fruits links to the patient because you have a piece of fruit but it is empty inside, no taste and in a way it is the same for the patient because she is laying there but nothing is inside her. The reason for the book and fruit is they are two objects which are empty inside of them. The poem “Visiting Hour” was a very successful poem in the way that it was very good at showing the visitor’s emotion through different techniques. The poet seemed very good at almost making you connect and understand both the visitor and patient. I enjoyed the poem very much, especially the way the poet displayed the emotions.
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