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Comparing and analysing Heaney's 'Blackberry Picking' and Plath's 'Blackberrying.'

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Comparing and analysing Heaney's 'Blackberry Picking' and Plath's 'Blackberrying.' In this essay I shall compare these two poets by studying one poem by each of them and analysing the different literary devices used. Both 'Blackberry picking' and 'Blackberrying' contain strong and powerful uses of imagery. Blackberrying is the first poem, which I shall be studying. It begins, again, rather dully and yet brings across more of a scenic image. "Nobody in the lane, and nothing, nothing but blackberries." Obviously this opening line is trying to show a picture of large numbers of blackberries, but notice how she emphasises the negatives as though it is the fact that here are no forms of life around which she is enjoying and not the blackberries. The first image, which she writes of 'A Blackberry alley, going down in hooks', this, is quite a sinister image for each to start. The second image, which she writes of, is that of the size of the berries "big as the ball on your thumb" but she then adds to this by saying the berries are "dumb as eyes." This is an interesting image to be putting to the reader for she is mixing the senses suggesting that the berries have eyes. However this does not bother her because unlike people the berries cannot speak to her or harm her in any way. ...read more.


However, she goes onto talk of the sea as an awe-inspiring site "nothing, nothing but a great space of white and pewter lights". She ends the poem talking of the sounds of the waves and her dislike to them "A din like silversmiths beating and beating at an intractable metal". She uses the adjective "din" for this description, which like "cacophonous" is an ugly way of describing sound. The last word of this poem, although used here as a simile, it is still a contrast to everything else in the poem. I believe the basis of this poem is Plath's need for peace. This is because everything pleasant and passive in the poem is described in a loving way whereas the squawking of the birds and the crashing of the sea are described very much to her dislike. Looking from an alternative perspective I believe the alley is supposed to represent Plath's journey through life. This starts with the mass of blackberries ripe and perfect as a child. "Choughs in black cacophonous flocks" could represent those people who have disrupted her life. Finally we reach the "bush of berries so ripe it is a bush of flies" this could be seen as how Plath sees her old age before she reaches the sudden end "From between two hills a sudden wind funnels at me". ...read more.


This is again the thought of a child being spoken of in this final image creating a good description of the activity as a whole and not just the scenery. From analysing this poem it is clear that Heaney has a great love for his childhood activities of long ago. His use of imagery in this poem shows how he tries to convey the atmosphere in a basic and direct manner. To conclude, I would say that Heaney bases his poem on memories he has had from his childhood and his love for the rural surroundings and way of life, He appeals to all five senses with his use of onomatopoeia. His poems also seem to relate very much to life and learning. He enjoys his nostalgic images and rights about them with a passion. I see Plath as very much an opposite writer. To her images are unsettling for the world to her is a frightening place full of objects and people that can hurt her (e.g. the sea). She uses her poems to express the journey through life, for example, the Blackberry alley, I have explained, as her life moving forward and she does not know when it will end "I do not think the sea will appear at all". To finally conclude, I would say that Heaney uses images to express his opinions the readers mind, whereas Plath uses imagery to describe her mind (her feelings and emotions) to the outside world. ...read more.

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