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Eugenesis – William McIlvanney

Eugenesis is a poem written by William McIlvanney, based on what I suspect is his depiction of humanity in the not so near future. Instead of taking you through the whole poem word for word, what I’m going to do is take a few good examples of metaphor, simile and personification and use these to discuss the effectiveness of McIlvanneys depiction of humanity.

Firstly I am going to discuss similes, one of the first similes you come across when reading this poem is “The rockets lay, like molar monuments“. This is almost both simile and personification, due to the use of the word “lay” suggesting that they lay the way in which people would, but I will be focusing more on the simile side of things. The part
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leading us to believe that mechanisation is forcing us to become enslaved by our own creations, but the more thought which you indulge into this poem, the more you realise how terrifyingly realistic and relevant it actually compared to our day to day lives. I don’t know about you, but it terrifies me thinking that in the not so near future our relatives could be emotionless, mindless robots being unable to process their own thoughts.

“Immortality came wrapped in polythene” is an extremely effective metaphor, suggesting that you would be able to but your life from a shop or it could purely be meaning that you will be able to find supliments on store shelves, wrapped in polythene which would guarantee you immortality. Although in line 10 McIlvanney states trhat computers and machines have discovered a synthetic/false way of producing nutrients in thi world (future) and going by said quote, they have also discovered how to grant people immortality, whether it be from nutrients which have been falsely produced on computer hard drives or spare body parts which you can purchase from local shops.

Notice that instead of using the phrase ‘in the future’ I used “in this world” implying that this is in no way relatable to our present time (in terms of immortality), and the use of th capital letter on “They” although it is not the beginning of a new sentence meaning that the computers

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