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Jigsaw II and View from a Window

~ Portrayal of society
Both of them discus the separation of society and the individuals who live in isolation, but the poets
differ in their attitudes and their hopes for a resolution of this existence mired in separation.
- Both agree about the separation of humans from their neighbours by means of the property they
live in. Extension of mind and body, divorce from physical and natural reality in Macneices and

physical separation in life and even in death in Saats and thats what is frightening, because
there is no hope of resolution
- Another level of contrast: While Saats people are irreconcilably divorced from each other in
reality, while Macneices people are divorced from their reality, and Macneice hopes to set
them straight by tearing down the walls of interaction and communication.

- Property! Property! already from the first line we get a sense of the difference in tone

Macneice is emphatic and hollers / shouts in his demands for attention to be paid to how
humans treat property and their relationship with each other as a result of the physical
separation the property creates, looking out, in a line of its own, uncapitalised, is far more
stark, unadorned, and homes in on Saats more quiet grimness, solemnity and the gravity of the
point he is trying to make
- The repetition of at at the beginning of each line deadens the flow of the poem, as the finality
of the sharp t sound bears a note of ending, of resignation, and stifles any future promise or
changes from happening. In contrast, the 5 Ands at the end of Macneices poem bears
possibility, and creates a sense of accumulation, as and suggests that things are building onto
one another, and drawing our attention to the strength of the poltergist and by extension the
emphatic quality and strength of the claim that Macneice is making, while Saats repetition
wrenches the life from his poetry, and deadens the subject matter. In additions Saats flat,
muted rhythm and the emptiness of the prose, the stark visual quality of how it reads especially
reinforces the isolation and alienation bringing our attention to existence in a permanent state
of stasis. In contrast, while Macneices poem is seemingly structured, given the equal number of
lines in each stanza and the regular punctuation, (unlike Saats minimalist work), the sense of
symmetry only draws attention again to the edifice, for it is filled with diction, punctuation and
descriptions that are far from structured and mundane, therein underscoring the seeming peace
and security that is underlain by deeper tensions and the possibility of change that Macneice
demands. In contrast, Saats poem plateaus, and life there drags on with nothing happening,
unencumbered by even any overt tensions only Saat sees the ghosts in his intimate,
personal encounter at Simei Street 1 11.22pm, , while Macneice makes a general comment
about humankind and our relationships within the confines of our societies.
- Likewise, with the muted diction closing, washing, closing the mundanity of the actions in
Saats diction is a strong, even jarring juxtaposition to the life that Macneice imbues into his
words, and the sort of jaunty, galloping rhythm that persists through the entire piece. This is most
emphasised in the end of the poem cut, smash, wreck, stop each line of the Macneice
piece is forceful and imbues us with energy the same energy that Macneice asks of the
poltergeist to destroy the edifice. In this sense, we get another distinction that creates another
divergence between the two poems while Macneices humans separation is self-

perpetuated, it is indeed an edifice that can be easily brought down by bringing down the
curtains and fences. On the other hand, Saats isolation runs deep,. While we can see past
the curtains and look at the house of our neighbours, there is zero possible intimacy.
Everyone is framed, contained and held in place as he socks, air-cons and washing poles are. In
that sense isolation is not merely self-imposed, but exacerbated and perpetuated by the very
environment they live in (columbarium is visually shocking, we are reminded of how they look
like HDB flats) and the ignorance of this isolation continue living their lives in plateau. On the
other hand, Macneices poem is comic in the line as good as the neighbours to keep out the
neighbours funny because it is ironic and because of the tragic self-awareness that
Macneice demonstrates sterilised, unshared, insured. They are aware that it is an
edifice, a picket fence that is erected by humans, but in Saats case people live their life in this
permanent state of stasis and passivity, completely unaware and not interested deadened
almost, hence the reference to ghosts, to the quiet, to the columbarium. Uneasiness there
because while the ghosts of dissatisfaction live amongst us in Saats poem, Macneices
poltergeist only comes out for specific purposes, highlighting again the fact that Saats humans
live mired in this state of having unfinished business, of quiet dissatisfaction, but that they do not
do anything about because of the safety of confinement.
- Even the ghost in Macneices poem is enlivened, purposeful, and brings action. In contrast,
Saats ghost is merely a ghost echoing the shadow, noiseless, and behind plague. Unlike
the ostentatious poltergeist, it does not make its presence known. Rather, in that same muted
existence, Saats ghost is equally empty. In that sense there is a stark difference because while
Macneice offers us the possibility of change and resolution, Saat continues, throughout the
poem, to channel that same isolation and emptiness on a deeper level, theres a different sort
of dissatisfaction, for while Macneices ghost is angry, charged with purpose and elevated
emotions, Saats ghost is unadorned, bare, lonely and quiet. There is this sense of quiet
unease, something unsettling about Saats ghost, because it hangs around with any real action.
Furthermore hunting for this souls is underwritten by an unnerving sense of fear for the
unfinished business. And furthermore, theres another sense of gravity because while for
Macneice the poltergeist is separate from the human, in Saats poem the ghost and the people
are parallel images. Its a sad observation that the housewives washing dishes and the
emptiness of that scene matches that of ghosts hunting for their souls, and both a devoid of the
same purpose and mired in similar passivity
- This is further emphasised by the chaste, blanched, unadorned quality of Saats poetry, devoid
of any elevations in the form of imagery or metaphors, descriptions etc all is mundane, muted,
deadened. In contrast, Macneice imbues his with far more life - a box is given human
characteristics and qualities of life and can take on many forms, underscoring the idea of
possibility of change Macneices television can talk and make faces, unlike Saats
drawers, woks and television boxes are bland, matter of fact.
- The poltergeist represents aggression, while the ghost and the mention of the columbarium as
explicitly grim and sad. For Macneice, action and realisation and reject of the edifice are ways
out of the passivity, to relieve the pain of ingrown souls theres a way for this souls to seek
reprieve from the isolation and passivity of separation that they are mired in, but for Saat there
is no resolution and the souls continue to wander, to be lost, and to be disconnected from their

human selves (ghosts) in an impossible fracture of existence, and so the ending, even
gravestones have names is redolent of a great sadness.