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Compare and Contrast Heaney's treatment to death in the two poems "The Early Purges" and "Mid-Term Break".

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Compare and Contrast Heaney's treatment to death in the two poems "The Early Purges" and "Mid-Term Break". I have studied numerous poems by the poet Seamus Heaney and I have chosen two poems to compare and contrast, the poems are The Early Purges and Mid-Term Break. In these two poems I am going to explore the way Heaney looks at the treatment of death. Both of the two poems were actual accounts in Heaney's childhood. The first poem I am going to analyse will be Mid-Term Break. The title Mid-Term Break makes you think about positive things. Mid-term is a time for you to have a break and relax. It generally is a good thing, a thing that people look forward to. In the first stanza Heaney is talking about himself sitting in the college sick bay, as he has been called there. The word "kneeling" is used. The word knelling is a bell sounded for someone who has died. This is a metaphor as he is sat in the sick bay listening to the bell indicating classes have finished. Also at the end of the stanza it tells you that the neighbours have been sent to pick him up. In the second stanza you are told that the father of Heaney is at there crying on the porch. ...read more.


In the last part of the stanza the poet says, "For the first time in six weeks. Paler now" This tells us that he hasn't seen the person in a long while and "paler now" is just explaining that he is dead, it is a euphemism saying "paler now" is less direct as say, 'brown bread dead'. In the seventh stanza, the poet is describing what injuries or just changes he can see and he spots a bruise on the person's head but he describes it as, "Wearing a poppy bruise on his left temple". "Wearing a poppy bruise" is a metaphor, he is talking about a red bruise, as poppy's tend to be red, and on a part of his head, his temple. The eighth stanza contains information about the dead male. The poet says, "He lay in the four foot box as in his." This is a simile the poet is comparing the coffin, "The four foot box", with his cot. This line tells us that the male was a young boy, because only children sleep in cots. It also is saying the child was all sweet and innocent. Near the end of the poem the poet is talking about how the child died. Heaney says in the poem, "The bumper knocked him clear" This indicates that the child was knocked over by a vehicle of some kind because bumpers are only located on vehicles. ...read more.


In the town that they lived in they considered death unnatural so they didn't approve of what Dan Taggart was doing. In the end Heaney does think that it is right to kill the animals because the just get in the way. It is good for the farmers and good for the animals. The last line of the poem is, " But on well-run farms pests have to be kept down. One of the huge differences in these two poems is that The Early Purges is very direct and doesn't avoid the matter at all whereas Mid-Term Break is the totally opposite and just doesn't go any where near the subject of death it is very indirect. Also Mid-Term Break is very emotional compared to The Early Purges, which doesn't show any emotion. Both of the poems are written from a child's point of view. Mid-Term Break isn't very factual whereas The Early Purges is. Mid-Term Break is very formal, as it doesn't contain any colloquial language unlike The Early Purges. The poem I most preferred was Mid-Term Break. My reason for this is I don't like the sound of small defenceless kittens being drowned but I don't like the fact that a small kid got knocked over by a car but that was natural in a way, at least Dan Taggart could have at least tried to find a home in the town for the little kittens. ...read more.

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