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Compare and contrast the poems 'Blackberrying' by Sylvia Plath and 'Blackberry Picking' by Seamus Heaney.

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Compare and contrast the poems 'Blackberrying' by Sylvia Plath and 'Blackberry Picking' by Seamus Heaney I am comparing and contrasting the poems 'Blackberrying' by Sylvia Plath and 'Blackberry Picking' by Seamus Heaney. Both poems are about blackberries and the totally different situations in which people pick them. Both poets write in an autobiographical way and the poems are set at the same time of year, late summer. Plath's poem is written from the perspective of a grown woman and how she discovers the blackberries as she is walking down a country lane. Heaney on the other hand, portrays his childhood adventures of blackberry picking. He writes it in first person but from the eyes of a child. He recalls how children acted and his personal memories. He uses the vocabulary and imagery a child would use. Heaney tells a story on behalf of himself and his friends; he writes as though he is talking to an adult, he uses the vocabulary of a child dictating what they have recently been doing. Heany really tries to empathise with childish ideas by writing like one. He emphasises this through imagery. He uses short and simple statements such as 'I always felt like crying.' This sort of sentence is a picture that we often relate to children. ...read more.


Even though I have referred to 'Blackberry Picking' as having simple imagery compared to Blackberrying, it does not. Seamus has varied his use of imagery; Plath looks into more detail and explains what she sees. Heany uses similes ('its flesh was sweet like thickened wine'), repetition and strong simple words. The word 'glutting' is plain, yet effective. It means to stuff or in this case stuffing, the sound of it when spoken is how he has created imagery. Heany really wants to increase this childish feel, he has looked into how children reacted to things and how they exaggerate to make it sound more grotesque. When the pickings are over he describes how they rot. He is very negative and states things the way he sees them. To enhance the grotesque childish atmosphere of the poem he uses repetition. The beginning of the second verse is an excellent example. 'We hoarded the fresh berries in the byre. But when the bath was filled we found a fur, A rat fungus, glutting on our cache.' The repetition of the letter 'F' creates an unpleasant image of repulsion and disgust. Just after this extract there is a sibilant sound, not always at the front of the word, but often the 'S' or 'C' is emphasised. 'The juice was stinking too. ...read more.


His mood changes after the berries start to rot and their treasure isn't worth anything, 'It wasn't fair'. As I have mentioned Plath likes to go into more detail about things, she looks at what things mean and how their shapes resemble things. Birds above are like 'Bits of burnt paper wheeling in a blown sky.' Plath write writes in a pensive mood, she is pleased with the time that she has by herself and is grateful for what she has in life. The woman, is very observant and does not have any real goals throughout the poem the only thing she wants is to find the sea, as that is were she was heading from the beginning. The woman has a calm attitude; she does not seem tense or especially worried about anything. She does not see the bad things in life and does not judge objects before she has thought about it. To her even the ugliest things are made positive. The boys in Heany's poems do have a goal, they want to pick all the berries, and they believe that they will gain something from it. The last common point I can find between both poems is the subject of Blood. They both talk about how the colours in berries are like 'summers blood.' Heany refers to a 'purple clot' this is ambiguous it could be seen as a clot of blood or as a clot being a knot, berries being like knots. ...read more.

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