Like Basking Shark, MacCaig explores the theme of the human condition in Hotel Room, 12th Floor. Whereas New York may appear to be the centre of modern western civilisation with its skyscrapers and prosperity, MacCaig wonders just how civilised society actually is, and how far the country has come from its bloody past.
Hotel Room, 12th Floor is a pessimistic poem that questions humanity’s ability to defeat primitive impulses. MacCaig concludes the poem by suggesting that, despite our advances, humanity cannot completely eradicate the evil that has plagued societies for generations.
MacCaig also explores the moral value of our materialistic society in this poem. It is possible that he feels that our rush for progress has left some behind. It is important that the
harsh screaming emits from
coldwater flats – MacCaig may be suggesting that a material-obsessed society harms the poor the most.
Like Brooklyn Cop, Hotel Room, 12th Floor explores the thin line between modern society and basic human instincts of violence and destruction, and the dangers of urban society.