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"Bruce Ismay's Soliloquy" by Derek Mahon and "Shore Woman" by Seamus Heaney are both alike in their experiences. Each poem relates a frightening experience at sea however although they contain many similarities, they each contain numerous differences.

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Poetry Assignment Two "Bruce Ismay's Soliloquy" by Derek Mahon and "Shore Woman" by Seamus Heany are both alike in their experiences. Each poem relates a frightening experience at sea however although they contain many similarities, they each contain numerous differences. One central difference is the portrayal of the experiences and the reaction evoked by the language used. "Bruce Ismay's Soliloquy" is the re-telling of when the Titanic sank and evokes little sympathy from the reader, whereas "Shore Woman" is about a woman being traumatized by porpoises attacking her boat at sea and her husbands insensitive, poor treatment of her. Both poems have no established form or rhyme scheme and are written in free verse. "Bruce Ismay's Soliloquy" comprises of a single stanza of free verse with long and short lines alternating. The use of run on lines and varying rhyme creates the impression of a natural speaking voice. The poem reads like a direct address from Ismay - a soliloquy. It can be described as a lyric, describing a person's life or a reflection on a single event. "Bruce Ismay's Soliloquy" is reflecting on the significance of the sinking of the Titanic and how it has affected him. "Shore Woman" is also in free verse, although it gives a detailed account of the woman's experience and her feelings through the aftermath. This poem uses verse paragraphs to elaborate and develop the narrative of the trauma of the sea and describes the subsequent feelings of the speaker. One central difference between the two poems is our reaction to the principal figure in each poem. Both poems are an attempt to evoke sympathy for the central character, however through the language used, it is apparent that both poems do not achieve this. ...read more.


In the following line, metonymical language is used and it creates a sense of cold detachment from the victims of the catastrophe, which detracts a sense of sympathy for Ismay: "Then it is I drown again with all those dim, Lost faces I never understood." The reference with the forceful verb "I drown" suggests that he is repeatedly reliving the experience when the Titanic sunk. His suffering is parallel to any victims; only he has to live with it all his life. Past and present, he is still experiencing torture. This does evoke some sympathy. "Never understood" hinders any sympathy felt for him however, as his lack of empathy with the victims makes it hard for us to relate any sympathy to him. Towards the close of the poem, a self-pitying, self-indulgent tone is employed again: "My poor soul Screams out in the starlight, heart Breaks loose and rolls like a stone." The use of "Screams" indicates how he keeps reliving the incident. And is a very violent word. "Breaks loose" is a simile showing how he is living a life that is emotionally distraught. "Rolls down like a stone," emphasizes his parallel experience with the victims. He drowned emotionally, but that is still as fundamental and serious as the death of the victims. The simile creates a feeling of pity towards the speaker. The poem closes with a direct plea to the reader to feel sympathy towards him. This self-absorbed tone detracts sympathy for Bruce by itself. The line- "Include me in your lamentations" -is an ironic line as it implies that Ismay wants to be included but he himself is shying away and hiding from society. ...read more.


The next series of lines describes the actual attack and how John refused to give in to his wife's pleas to "put in". The woman insists to John "they would attack a boat". But the simple, colloquial, prosaic language used to describe John's dogmatic, stubborn determination to enforce his point that they would not attack is a clear illustration to his lack of compassion and caring for his wife. John appears to get sadistic enjoyment at watching the woman suffer. He is very disdainful and scornful of her superstitious family, which evokes sympathy from the reader as he is mocking her without reason: "a yarn My people had been fooled by far too long" His disrespectful and domineering attitude towards his wife is shown when he promises to "prove it" and "settle it". However he sees clearly how he was wrong when the porpoises do attack: "Maybe he shrank when those thick... ...Sick at their huge pleasure in the water" These five lines of the poem describe graphically how the porpoise attacked the boat with a surge of power, "propelled towards us", and how afraid the woman really was, "I lay and screamed". The language used in this part of the poem almost bears a similarity to that of rape language, a symbolic evocation of the relationship between her husband and she; she feels abused by him. The way in which it describes the porpoises enjoying the attack and the violent experience of the entire encounter- "Feeling each dunt and slither through the timber" -shows her fear. The use of onomatopoeia, "slither" is also a sign of her fear. In contrast to "Bruce Ismay's Soliloquy", the language used here helps to evoke sympathy for the woman. ...read more.

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