Last updated: February 11, 2019
Topic: FoodFast Food
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The poem Brooklyn Cop was written by Norman MacCaig. This poem stereotypically represents all Brooklyn Cops and convey what they go through on a typical shift. MacCaig uses realistic characterisation, imagery and attack on the senses. violent setting to enguage with the reader and evoke a sense of sympathy MacCaig uses a shocking description to introduce the cop, through a simile. The relevance of “ built like a gorilla” is that he is conveying to the reader how large a physique he has , conveying a sense of being very strong and powerful.

The complexion of the Brooklyn cop concerns the reader as the cop clearly has a very unhealthy skin tone. Evidence of this is word choice of : “steak coloured “ , which conveys negative connotations of bloody and grey. The imagery of “hieroglyphs” is affective because it is hinting at a previous violent history referring to scars he has. Scars deeply cut into his skin and resembling ancient symbols telling a story would be quite an intimidating sight. The poet has affectively conveyed an image of a brutal setting from connotations of danger, crime and violence.

MacCaig affectively uses a cliche in the first verse “see you, babe”. To convey an alternative side to the cop. Outwardly , he may seem a scary face, but inwardly he has feelings. This softer side makes him seem a far nicer person. Repetition in verse two, for example appears through the word choice and reinforces the cops apprehension that he is sure that violence will break out , sooner rather than later . We see this through the imagery of “should the tissue tear” .

MacCcaig continues with the words “plunge” and “clubbings” , are affective because “plunge” has connotations of heaviness and vastely . lack of power while “clubbings” has connotations of being struck with a weapon. The poet engages the reader through the sense of sight and sound . We can almost hear the thud of the footsteps and feel the vibrations as we watch the policeman become caught up in violence . The reader engages with the cop through a sense of sympathy because we appreciate that he has to undergo the same routine every day ,hoping that he ill not come upon any violence. the use of stereotypical name are interesting because “Louie’s place” is an Italian pizza place and “Phoebe’s Whamburger” convey a dirty fast food restaurant. The realism of a noisy, busy setting by day and undesirable environment with criminal activity at night is conveyed . There is an obvious and important change in the cops appearance and behaviour through he transformation of simile to metaphor. He initially gives the impression of looking like a gorilla to actually becoming one.

This is extended further through the metaphor “gorilla with a nightstick”. A sense of fear is evoked in the mind of the reader just as it must do for would be criminals. We are also left considering if the cop is alarmed by the transformation too. In verse 4 there is only one sentence in the whole verse. This is an effective technique as the fourth verse is just the one rhetorical question, “and who would be who have to be his victims ? ”. The relevance of this rhetorical question is that it engages with the reader a desire to consider exactly what the poet means.

The repetition of “who” is very relevant because it creates a tone of confusion indicating that the cop might at this time be scared. The ironic point of this last verse is to ask the reader to consider what terrible things the cop might do to anyone who stood up against him, preventing him from keeping law and order. MacCaig hints at never-ending violence through a brutal setting of Brooklyn. The reader both sees and hears the action, encouraging sympathy for all those who attempt to keep the streets peaceful.

The structure of one verse over four lines is an effective way to do this. Brooklyn Cop has been affective because is a stereotypical poem about every single cop in Brooklyn and what they have to go through every day. I think the poet wrote about a Brooklyn cop because these law-enforcers go through much violence and danger . Brooklyn is obviously a very rough place. Through the use of an attack on the senses and realism of character, reader engagement is continued through every line of the poem.