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Comparative Study of the poetry of Seamus Heaney.

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Year Ten Coursework-Comparative Study of the poetry of Seamus Heaney There is a strong connection between the three poems I have been studying, 'Digging', 'The Early Purges and 'Mid-term Break', the connection is that they are all related to childhood and past memories. All of these poems were written by Seamus Heaney, a famous poet who focused more on writing his poems about past experiences and the relationship he shared with his family. The first poem 'Digging' was written in admiration of Heaney's father. A poem about a man digging for peat and realising that he no longer wanted to be a farmer, but to fulfil his ambition at being a poet. The second poem 'The Early Purges' is quite a graphical piece of writing, based on Heaney's personal experiences living on a farm as a child, witnessing disturbing deaths of animals at only six years old. The third poem 'Mid-term Break' is a dispirited memory about Heaney's brother (Christopher), who died in a car accident at only four years old. In this poem Heaney is starting to grow up learning about the changes that happen in life. Seamus Heaney was brought up living on a farm, and most of his poems are about his family, his childhood or farm life. Evidence of this is in 'Mid-term Break' and 'The Early Purges' they both start with "I", this tells us that they are to do with personal experiences and now the reader becomes more involved in the poem. ...read more.


We would probably agree that it is not right and it is cruel, but Heaney has been bought up to think that it is just part of their daily lives, and it has to be done. We can tell this is true when Heaney says "I just shrug, 'Bloody pups' " we can tell that he isn't showing any sympathy just like Dan didn't. When Heaney was young and in his childhood years he wanted t follow in his father's and grandfather's footsteps of being farmers, and being the oldest child he was probably expected to. As the years past Heaney found a passion for writing, no longer did he want to be a farmer but he wanted to become a poet. I think Heaney wrote 'Digging' as a sign of respect towards his father, he wants his father to understand although he is not a farmer he admires him dearly and is extremely proud of what he did. Heaney feels that he cannot match "men like them" with a spade, and it is his duty to become a writer. I get the impression Heaney feels almost guilty for this change especially when he says "my father digging, I look down" maybe Heaney feels as though his father thinks his son has betrayed him, by not choosing to become a farmer just like himself and his father. At the end of this poem Heaney says, "The squat pen rests. ...read more.


While reading all three of the poems one thing that came to my attention was one oxymoron out of all the three texts. The oxymoron was from 'The Early Purges', "glossy and dead" used to describe the kittens laying on top of the dunghill. In the poem 'The Early Purges' the text starts with honest and direct language, but it is later replaced with two clich�s: "cuts ice" and "pests have to be kept down." The structure of the poem in 'Mid-term Break' is important, it begins with Heaney waiting to be collected from the sickbay. The final sentence is the only one with a rhyme, it sets the tone of the poem, makes it stand out more and has a greater effect on the reader. In 'The Early Purges' there are tight and regular rhymed three-lined stanzas very similar to 'Mid-term Break'. In 'Digging' the number of lines varies, but in each word there are only one or two syllables making it even easier for the reader to understand. Overall, there are many similarites between all three of the poems. This is due to them all being written by the same poet and focusing mainly on three things: childhood, family and farm life. 'The Early Prurges' and 'Mid-term Break' are linked with childhood, 'Digging' and 'The Early Purges' are linked with farm life and 'Digging' and 'Mid-term Break' are linked together with family. I think Heaney feels these three aspects are the very important to him that is why most of his poems focus on them. ...read more.

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