Techniques in Conveying Emotions in "Visiting Hour"

            Visiting hour by Norman MacCaig is a poem in which MacCaig uses a variety of techniques to convey his emotions. In his word choice it helps us relate to his sadness in this event.

             MacCaig starts the poem by setting the scene he is in a hospital visiting a friend. In the first stanza MacCaig is uncomfortable in his surroundings he is very apprehensive towards the hospital. For instance "The hospital smell combs my nostrils” this suggests the idea that the hospital smells but for MacCaig he can't just smell it he can feel it as if the smell was brushing his noise hair. MacCaig has started the poem with a contrast in a joke like manner this develops the idea of his lightheartedness at the start.

             MacCaig uses the technique of repetition to emphasis his feelings. For example " I will not feel, I will not feel”. This makes us the reader more aware that he is in fact feeling something he is in denial and can't take the situation in.

             When MacCaig reaches his relative he is feeling very sad and shocked as if he is just realizing how bad and ill his relative is. For instance "And between her and me distance shrinks till there is none left but the distance of pain that neither she nor I can cross”. This tells us that MacCaig is overwhelmed by his emotions as if he can't cope with this amount of pain. Up until he sees his relative lying in the hospital bed he has been brave and preoccupied in trying to hide his feelings. But by writing this his individuality and his determination not to show his feelings is lost as he can't cope with this amount of pain.

             MacCaig also uses the technique of metaphors for example "She lies in a white cave of forgetfulness”. This tells us that his relative is lying in a bed with white bed sheets but she has an empty mind. This metaphor is used to give us a strong impact of how ill she is her body there but her mind is gone. Another example is "a withered hand trembles on its stalk”.

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