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Blackberry-Picking

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Introduction

BLACKBERRY-PICKING By Seamus Heaney Blackberry picking is about greed, growing up, how we struggle in life and how pleasure can be taken away from us very quickly. Heaney writes retrospectively, about the times he as a child would go blackberry-picking every year, as a metaphor for these experiences. The first stanza of the poem is mostly quite positive and enthusiastic. The first part of the stanza describes the the ripening of the berries, "given heavy rain and sun for a full week, the blackberries would ripen". He also gives us an image of the berries. Heaney uses the metaphor "a glossy purple clot" for the ripe berries, and the similie "hard as a knot" for the unripe berries. When you say "hard as a knot", the sound is quite short, indicating that the berries are not yet ripe. ...read more.

Middle

Heaney writes "briars scratched", and "wet grass beached our boots". This is implying that nature is going against the children and fighting back, using the briars and wet grass to bleach and scratch their boots, as trying to stop the children from raping and pillaging the berries away from it. The children even took berries that were unripe, "With green ones". This heavily suggests greed, as they are even hoarding the berries that aren't ripe yet. "On top big dark blobs burned like a plate of eyes", the use of the word "burned" is suggesting pain, torment and hell felt by the berries, also it is as if the berries are accusing the children of murder, watching them like a plate of eyes. You know that the children feel a sense of guilt after picking so many berries, after their hands are full of thorn pricks and stained with berry juice. ...read more.

Conclusion

Just like how long and painful the process of picking the blackberries are, how they got their hands full of thorn pricks. Then after a short while, the berries start to rot, and the "sweet flesh" of the berries would turn sour. Heaney writes this poem to reveal that life is about disappointment, and that good things won't last, while relating it back to a childhood event of his past. It is also about growing up, and ageing, as we get the contrast of the adults and childrens view in the last stanza. I found this poem very enjoyable and interesting to study, because when I was reading the poem, it almost felt like I could taste the blackberries. I like his use of figurative language, especially the way he described the berries. Another reason why I liked this poem is because I like the way Heaney uses past events of his life to express certain ideas about life. ...read more.

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