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Book Review Of "Brooklyn Cop" By Norman Mc Caig

1571 words - 7 pages

Brooklyn CopNorman McCaig's Brooklyn Cop is a poem that explores the theme of violence which is a theme that has the potential to affect us all. This theme is explored by McCaig, by writing about a cop in Brooklyn and the daily dangers that he faces.The poem is about a cop who works in Brooklyn, New York, which is renowned for being a rather violent society, thus making the job of being a cop there even tougher than being a cop anywhere else. The fact that every working day is a life threatening situation for him is affluent throughout the poem, as is the fierce, tough and unyielding characteristics of this Brooklyn Cop, all of which are necessities in order for him to be able to fulfil his ...view middle of the document...

In keeping with the cop's appearance, his job, by its very nature, is a potentially violent one. He risks his life on a daily basis and this is apparent from his words to his wife. Before leaving for work he tells her "see you babe" it is then said that "he hoped it, he truly hoped it." This repetition of 'hoped it' places emphasis on the fact that he really did hope it because he was more than well aware that he could be killed at work and such a scenario was not unlikely. He really did hope that he would make it through another day in the violent society he policed, and once again get to see his wife.The phrase "hiya honey" is something that many American men would say on such a regular basis to their wives and girlfriends that it had become a cliché and was said out of habit. However with the Brooklyn Cop in question, this was not the case as when he said it to his wife, he was truly delighted that he had managed to do so, as it meant that he had survived another extremely dangerous day whilst trying to stamp out some of the violence within his patrol.We are told that the cop "walks the sidewalk and the thin tissue over violence." The metaphor of describing the civilised society as being a thin tissue over violence implies that there is violent society 'underneath' or within all civilised societies and this violence is so close to us that the civilisation and violence are merely separated by a "thin tissue". Thus the reader is being made aware of the violence that co-exists with all civilisations. This metaphor is particularly effective as the word "tissue" has connotations of something that is easily broken and as the violence is described as being 'underneath' this 'tissue' the implication is that anyone can fall through into this violent society, whether they are victims or perpetrators of violence, it has the potential to affect us all.The use of extended metaphor in verse two serves to emphasise the fragility of keeping this peace. The potential of becoming affected by the violence is brought in again when McCaig talks of the "tissue tear" which relates to the cop breaking through this thin fragile tissue, when a violent situation erupts and he is suddenly called into a potentially very dangerous situation in order to be the peace keeper. His fall through this tissue is described as a "plunge" which has the connotations of no hesitance from the cop into the new and unknown dangers that lie beneath this tissue between civilisation and a violent society. The fact that he has no hesitations shows that he knows what he has to do in order to carry out his job of eliminating violence from society, which is though an endless task.Various places on the cop's beat are mentioned and these include "Phoebe's, Whamburger and Louie's Place." All of these places are used by McCaig to establish setting as they are all very typically American names, which is of course where this violent underworld is being portrayed. The use of wham in Whamburger...

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