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analysis poem mid term break

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Mid-term Break The poem 'Mid-term Break' was written by Seamus Heaney. Heaney has written many poems to do with self experiences. He usually writes in first person narrative about his personal life. The reason Heaney uses first person narrative is that the use of it is more effective and makes an impact on the reader, as it makes the reader feel how Heaney feels in the poem. 'Mid-term Break' is a poem about the tragic incident of the death of one of Heaney's family members. The poem has an ambiguous title. This makes the reader uncertain whether the poem is negative or positive. The title 'Mid-term Break' suggests that the poem is going to be positive, about a child and his adventures on holiday. Heaney does this because it is misleading and it keeps the reader guessing. The ambiguous title symbolises the ambiguous shock that Heaney felt. Throughout the poem, the poet gradually reveals information. Heaney uses this technique to shock the reader and so that the reader can discover what has happened, just how Heaney did, step by step. This also symbolises him coming to terms with the bereavement. The poem begins with Heaney sitting in the college sick bay. He is isolated from his classmates. This may indicate that he is aware of the incident. "Counting bells knelling classes to a close" This quote given the reader is a hint that there has been a death, as the word 'knelling' means the bells at the end of a funeral. ...read more.


"The baby cooed and laughed and rocked the pram" By listing down everything he could see, it shows that Heaney is in shock because everything has happened too fast and it is too much information to take in at once. This quote also has a slight rhythm to it. It is also fairly positive compared to the rest of the poem, because the baby does not know what is going on. Heaney uses this effect so that it is in contrast the rest of the poem and so that the negativity of the poem stands out to the reader. This is juxtaposition. In the following quote Heaney uses euphemism to avoid saying something unpleasant. "And tell me they were 'sorry for my trouble'" By the old men saying that they were sorry for his trouble, it is clear that they do not really understand what he is going through, as troubles are usually small and simple. But to Heaney this is a catastrophe. The old men may also have said this to Heaney because they did not want to say 'death' as it may emotionally hurt him. Throughout the four first four stanzas of the poem, Heaney talks himself and how he's coping with the death, but by the end of stanza four, Heaney announces how his mother is coping with the death. "...my mother held my hand In hers and coughed out angry tearless sighs." ...read more.


The bruise is seen as not really part of the boy - he is 'wearing' it, as if it could come off. Heaney compares the bruise to a poppy, a flower linked with death and soothing the pain. The next part of information Heaney gives us about the day is the following, "the bumper knocked him clear." This quote reveals that the death of his brother was caused by a car accident. The child appears as if sleeping 'in a cot'. We contrast the ugly 'corpse, stanched and bandaged', which becomes a sleeping child with 'no gaudy scars' - dead, but, ironically, not disfigured. The final stanza of 'Mid-term Break' is only one line long and the last word of it rhymes with the last word on the line above. "A four foot box, a foot for every year" This last line has a big impact on the reader, as it reveals that the child was only four years old. This makes the reader feel sorry for Heaney. This line is the most effective line in the whole poem. The fact that this line contains the only rhyme in the poem, "...clear ...year", it has a huge effect on the reader. It is a very dramatic way to end the poem and it also sticks in the readers mind. The only rhyme in the poem gives a finality of three things; the end of the poem, the end of the child's life, and the end of Heaney grieving. Through writing the poem Heaney resigns to the fact that his brother died. Shegina ...read more.

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