• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Consider some of the ways in which Heaney explores the continuity between past and present in his poetry.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

EN Essay Subject: Consider some of the ways in which Heaney explores the continuity between past and present in his poetry. Seamus Heaney, in his poetry, calls upon elements of past and present in which he explores certain continuity in different ways and to different effects, or at least, in most poems studied up to now. His work's main frame, confessional poetry, is one in which he makes allusions to his own personal experience, past or present, but he also evokes historical events and experiences, both of which are evidently subject to time. Yet, how does Heaney explore such an abstract, intangible theme, to what effect, and what does he get out of it? It can be argued that his main motivation in doing this is to satisfy his quest of understanding the present through a projection back into the past, back into himself, back into his nation, Ireland, the land, the bog, the turf, that is the very essence of origins and explanations. Ireland, for Seamus Heaney, only represents the mud, the turf, the water, literally, but not the people. This can be seen in some of his poem such as "Bog Queen", where the turf is a predominant aspect in this poem. Indeed, this "bog" is the very origin of the poem, through its formidable capacity of preservation, enabling it to conserve human bodies for centuries, allowing for its "hibernation". ...read more.

Middle

Logically, in relation with this theme, Heaney also creates a bond between past and present by varying the form of his poems for political purposes, mostly between Ireland and England. This is seen in "Requiem for the Croppies" where he criticises the English hostility during the rebellions of the United Irishmen in Wexford in 1798 and of the Easter Rising in 1916. He expresses his support to the rising through the unbalance brought by the sestet of five verses which gives the entire poem a rebellious aspect. Consequently, Heaney ensures a political point of view, one where he criticises the interference of England in Irish affairs, but also the continuation of a 400-year-old form of poetry, the sonnet. Such a continuity in Heaney's poems is not only seen in poems making allusions to history and Ireland, but also on more personally based ones, where the poet as an individual marks the relationship between past and present. In "Digging" for instance, Heaney recalls his father digging "just like his old man" and goes even back to remembering his grand-father who used to "cut more turf in a day / than any other man on Toner's bog" thus insisting on the continuity of a tradition of farming that has been passed from generations to generations. He decides to preserve this continuity but by following his on way, that is by digging with his pen, not into turf, but into his mind, himself and the past. ...read more.

Conclusion

It is interesting to note that the turning point in this poem, the boy not turning away but accepting the challenge "I turned to stare" is exactly in the central stanza and that everything after is overturned, his fear disappearing marked by a change in the rhyme scheme. The bridge that Heaney passes at the end of the poem, "Then I turned on and crossed the bridge" is the symbol of something you have achieved, the poet's passage of childhood to adulthood, of past to present, with an insistence on the continuity between the two, conveyed by the concrete image of the bridge. In conclusion, there are several various ways with which Seamus Heaney evokes the continuity between past and present in his poetry. Depending on what he wants to demonstrate, he considers different examples to explore such continuity: from his own personal experience to a more general Irish history, Heaney analyses a wide range of details. In his consideration of continuity between past and present, he works on different levels, diverging from ideas such as metaphors or other images, to crafts and workings such as the use of a particular form, or term. His enterprise of studying time is probably not coincidental, as time is by definition something ever existing, eternal, upon which everyone is subjected. Through it, Heaney makes an attempt to place Ireland and all Irishmen in a wider context. 1 1/2 Cedric CHAMOIN Tale S5 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Seamus Heaney section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Seamus Heaney essays

  1. Peer reviewed

    Analyse how Seamus Heaney uses language to convey his childhood experiences to the reader ...

    3 star(s)

    Also in both poems the poet uses adjectives to achieve a similar affect. I believe that in both poems the poet uses adjectives to show just how enthusiastic he was about nature as a child. In "Death of a Naturalist" the adjectives are used to show the pain that the boy would've had to go through to collect frogspawn.

  2. Explore Heaney's Presentation Of The Irish Conflict In, "Whatever You Say, Say Nothing"

    A full stop is used after this, one of the few so far, to show that Heaney is now interrupting his rage on the media to state his own personal view, "I live here, I live here too". This again envokes feelings of empathy from the readers as Heaney seems to be in pain here.

  1. Analysis Of Bog Queen

    body is decaying, no one is seeing what is happening around them, they must open their eyes, and learn from their mistakes. The word, "creeping", is also used in this stanza, which gives the notion of something negative, not positive, it can be said that it is criticism of Ireland, showing the conflict within the Irish society.

  2. 'From our study in the "Clearances" collection, what is revealed about Seamus Heaney and ...

    death, he, like the tree, also feels like he has been cut, both physically and emotionally, ultimately illuminating the desperation he feels now that his mother is not around, emphasising the closeness between them. Despite the focus of Clearances being on the experiences of Heaney and his mother, we are

  1. Most, if not all, of Heaney's poems in 'Wintering Out' describe Heaney's uncertainty towards ...

    When the congregations bent, the feet of Christ were being kissed where the nails and his wounds are. As he is driving further away from Northern Ireland and its traditions, the burden is lifted from his shoulders. He begins to feel free.

  2. Seamus Heaney.

    The poem rests on the recognition that there are more important creations than the ordering of words. Rather than being merely a recollection of childhood, this poem takes on universal weight in the intertwining of the artistic forces in father and son.

  1. Act of Union essay

    Ideas like betrayal, divorce, giving birth and pregnancy kept popping up. One person even came up with what seemed an "abstract" idea. The idea was that the poem was about a woman pretending to be a man in the army.

  2. Explore how Heaney writes about suffering in 'Bye-Child' and in one other poem of ...

    The final sentence is a release, an alternative to strict religion, and, for the first time in the poem, the boy is not at the hands of neglect and suffering. The poem is set into five line stanzas, which shows the monotonous life of the young boy.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work