In Media Res By Michael Mcfee Summary

1278 Words 6 Pages
At some point in every individual’s life, they are shocked and dismayed to realize that their youth has passed by them like sand through their fingers. The reality of ever-approaching death drives many to scrutinize their decaying bodies. In his poem, In Media Res, Michael McFee uses thoughtful imagery, biblical and literary allusion, and unexpected connotative language to examine the eerie experiences of a middle-aged man as he struggles to come to terms with his aging body.
Through the use of imagery, Michael McFee illustrates the man’s dour outlook on the process of aging. The poem begins by describing the man unable to fasten his old wedding pants. The pants are “now breathtaking, / belt no longer the cinch / it once was…” (McFee 4-6)
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It additionally fosters an almost autopsic tone in the poem, viewing the human body as a specimen under the harsh microscope of criticism rather than as the man’s physical being. McFee compares the rings of a tree (which increase in number as the tree ages) to the gradual increase of the man’s weight over his lifespan, saying, “...belly’s cambium / expanding to match each birthday…” (6-7) McFee’s use of the word “centrifuge” in line 9 is a subtle nod again to the theme of the macabre, since a centrifuge is used to separate blood from plasma. The presence of the term “entropy” in line 15 is significant in that it represents a gradual degeneration, an idea that aptly represents the process of aging. The word “hibernation” used in line 17, while at first bringing to mind a seasonal slumber, upon closer reflection denotes a “lying in wait;” a sinister nod to the fate of the joggers on that grim sidewalk in line …show more content…
The speaker seems to be contrasting the lack of control the man has in the inevitable decay of his body with the manful power of the tool he wields to enact his desires, or perhaps, revenge on aging.
Michael McFee uses thoughtful imagery, biblical and literary allusion, and unexpected connotative language to examine the eerie experiences of a middle-aged man as he struggles to come to terms with his aging body. The sense of dread of the inevitable and helplessness in the poem gives the subject a tragically human element, allowing the reader to identify with the man and have sympathy for him. The macabre edge to the linguistic style only heightens the sense of impending doom that the man feels, making this poem a harbinger of the ills of the aging

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