ICSE English — The Cold Within — Explanation
The Cold Within by James Patrick Kinney
Introduction … The Cold Within, as a poem, appears like a sermon. It underlines the eternal values cherished by mankind, such as compassion, altruism, empathy, tolerance, and social conscience. We all know how selfishness, bigotry, racial prejudice, arrogance, and vainglorious tendencies have brought the human race untold misery, wars, deprivation, strife, and bloody revolutions. Despite the realization that these ingrained evil tendencies blight our moral conscience, and deprive us of peace, we continue to be held hostage to these evils. The author, an American, has used simple examples of six depraved persons, who have destroyed themselves in a cold night just because none of them was willing to put the log at their possession to the fire that went out, eventually freezing the selfish six to death.
It is an irony that the poem was rejected initially by the publishers as it was perceived to be too ‘liberal’ in its views! Still more ironical is the fact that modern day America under the present administration has found new virtue in looking inwards in the most self-centered manner, ignoring the centuries-old values it preached and practiced.