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Compare and contrast the way in which Seamus Heaney and D.H Lawrence describe childhood memories and feelings

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POETRY COURSEWORK ESSAY COMPARE AND CONTRAST THE WAY IN WHICH SEAMUS HEANEY AND D.H LAWRENCE DESCRIBE CHILDHOOD MEMORIES AND FEELINGS. Both Seamus Heaney and D.H Lawrence wrote frequently about their childhood experiences and feelings. This is especially true for the poems; 'Mid-Term Break' and 'The Early Purges' by Seamus Heaney, as well as 'Piano' and "Discord in Childhood' by D.H Lawrence. There is no doubt the writers' backgrounds definitely had an impact on these poems, as there are clear associations with their own lives. Seamus Heaney was born in 1939 in Northern Ireland, at the start of World War II. This would have meant Heaney had to grow up in times of War, a difficult experience in itself. His family were Catholic and he was the eldest of 9 children. Heaney grew up on a farm in the countryside, where his father used traditional farming methods as a way of keeping family tradition, although Heaney himself chose not to become a farmer, perhaps breaking the tradition. Heaney reminisces about rural life on the farm in 'The Early Purges'. At the age of 12 his parents send him to a boarding school, away from his family, which is mentioned in 'Mid-Term Break'. David Herbert Lawrence, commonly known as D.H Lawrence, was born in 1885 in Nottinghamshire, many years before Heaney. Lawrence was one of five children and his father was a miner so didn't make a lot of money. His father was also a heavy drinker, leading to violence, which is one of the themes of 'Discord in Childhood'. Lawrence's mother, on the contrary, was a schoolteacher until she had children and was therefore intellectually superior to her husband, possibly causing more problems within the relationship. Lawrence despised his father, though had a good relationship with his mother, who encouraged him to read and write. Unfortunately his mother died in 1910 from an illness that she could no longer bear. ...read more.


The next two verses describe how the kittens are carelessly "slung" into buckets, which are then "soused" with water, effectively drowning them. There is alliteration for further effect and words like "scraping" to appeal to our aural senses. Direct speech is included to try to reassure Heaney the reader and the simile "Like wet gloves" is used to show they are useless. "Glossy and dead" is also used to describe the kittens, an incongruous juxtaposition, as they are not two words you would expect to find next to each other. Glossy is a word to usually describe something beautiful, having a shiny or lustrous surface, certainly not something dead. However, the word glossy does have another meaning; something having a false or deceptive appearance of air, so perhaps Heaney has hidden this behind the word as well. Unlike in 'Mid-Term Break', where Heaney purposely does not show any emotions in the poem, here in verse four Heaney's emotions are displayed when he says, "Suddenly frightened." Conversely, just after this Heaney says, "I sadly hung round the yard" referring to the dunghill the kittens had been thrown onto. Much like 'Mid-Term Break', here Heaney is trying to come to terms with what has happened to the kittens, as he did with his brother. Again there is some feeling of guilt seen in both poems, until he forgets about the kittens. However "the fear came back" when he sees rats, rabbits, crows and hens being killed. For a second time Heaney uses very violent, harsh language such as "snared", "shot" and "sickening tug" to give the impression these animals are worthless. The next verse sees the beginning of a complete change in perspective. Whereas before, in his childhood, he was disgusted by how little they cared for these animals, he now has a different view. An adult view that, no matter how much he liked or disliked it, he has to accept it as part of life. ...read more.


In contrast Heaney has a constant rhythm for both of his poems. In addition, Lawrence's poems are significantly shorter than Heaney's, possibly showing that Lawrence feels that these types of emotional poems are most effective kept short. Another similarity we can make between the two poets is that in all of the poems, in some way both authors try to distance themselves from reality. In 'Mid-Term Break' and 'The Early Purges' this is because Heaney can't quite comprehend what has happened to the animal and his brother. In 'Piano' Lawrence is lost in his memories, far away from reality, and in 'Discord in Childhood' Lawrence distances himself by not mentioning himself throughout the poem. Finally, my last comparison between Heaney and Lawrence are that all of these childhood memories deal, in some way, with death or violence. This could have, and most probably was, because both actually did experience death or violence in their childhood. Also death is an extremely emotional and difficult subject that many people can relate to, which could have been an incentive to writing about death, to catch the reader's attention. Overall, out of these four poems I think 'Mid-Term Break' is my particular favourite. This is because, although I do not know how it feels first hand, I have experienced through other people who have lost relatives how devastating, but also how unreal, it can feel. This poem is also just what caught my eye the most due to a number of reasons. I think it is well written, especially the ending, which gave me a huge shock and connected with my emotions. Even though there is not a lot of complicated language I still felt it was well written, because without complicated language to me it makes the poem feel more realistic. Also being around the same age as Heaney in the poem, I felt that I could relate to the part where responsibility is forced upon him and he is forced to grow up. ?? ?? ?? ?? - 1 - ...read more.

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