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Consider Heaney's presentation of relationships in Act of Union and one other poem

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  • Essay length: 905 words
  • Submitted: 16/07/2008
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AS and A Level Seamus Heaney

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Consider Heaney's presentation of relationships in Act of Union and one other poem

The poem Act Of Union is an allegory and focuses on the theme of relationships. It has a surface meaning of a relationship between a man and woman and the underlying meaning of Ireland and Britain. Its title is from an act passed in parliament in 1800, England's response the 1789 rebellion. This created from January 1st 1801 onwards, the 'United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland'.

The extended metaphor used throughout the poem describes what took place between England and Ireland but also a sexual act taking place between a man and woman. The flow of the poem using enjambment also represents the sexual act taking place.

The language used in the 1st stanza points toward this being a case of rape,

"To slip and flood; a big burst,"

"And arms and legs are thrown"

The use of alliteration and consonance represent the pain and harshness of the act of rape and the invasion of Ireland by England. Yet Heaney goes on to write,

"I caress The heaving province..."

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