What, Still Alive At Twenty-Two? Essay, Research Paper
What still alive at twenty-two,
A clean, upstanding chap like you?
Sure, if your throat ‘tis hard to slit,
Slit your girl’s, and swing for it.
Like enough, you won’t be glad
When they come to hang you, lad:
But bacon’s not the only thing
That’s cured by hanging from a string.
So, when the spilt ink of the night
Spreads o’er the blotting-pad of light,
Lads whose job is still to do
Shall whet their knives, and think of you.
You’re twenty-two and not dead yet?
A distinguished young man like you?
If you find it hard to kill yourself,
Kill your girlfriend, and die by hanging.
This way, though, you still won’t be satisfied
When the authorities come to hang you:
However, bacon isn’t the only item
For which hanging is a cure.
So, when the news of slaying your girlfriend
Becomes the public knowledge,
Young men who have not yet committed their crime
Will look to you for their guidance.
I think in the beginning, this poem is mocking the fa?ade of happiness that many clean-cut individuals have. It is a mockery of the thoughts in the criminal mind. Many times, a criminal cannot bring himself to commit suicide, so they take someone else’s life instead. By doing so, subconsciously, the criminal knows he will be caught and in turn, executed.
In the second stanza, the poet reveals that in the face of death, the criminal will still be unhappy, even though it is was he wanted all along. Line (7) of the poem, the poet means that hangings are a means of curing society, ridding it of pests (criminals).
In the final stanza, the poet claims that young men whom are of the same mind will look to the criminal for guidance. These young minds will relate to the social-stance of the criminal, and maybe follow in the same footsteps, treating the criminal as their role model.
At first, I was overwhelmed by this poem, but after reading it several times and thinking about its meaning, it became a little clearer. The most significant phrase in this poem to me was located on lines (7) and (8). Many people parallel Kingsmill’s view on execution today. They are in support of capitol punishment. Their view is that crime would be decreased if murderers would be put to death for their actions, just like that of Hugh Kingsmill