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Compare the way the poets present the ideas of DEATH or LOSS in 'Mid-Term Break', 'On The Train', 'On My First Sonne' and 'The Affliction of Margaret'.

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Introduction

ESSAY NUMBER 3: Compare the way the poets present the ideas of DEATH or LOSS in 'Mid-Term Break', 'On The Train', 'On My First Sonne' and 'The Affliction of Margaret'. Write about: * What the deaths or losses are like * How feelings are conveyed through the poets' choice of language * The attitudes shown towards the deaths or losses * Your own response to the poems In the poems 'Mid-Term Break' by Seamus Heaney, 'On The Train' by Gillian Clarke, 'On My First Sonne' by Ben Jonson and 'The Affliction of Margaret' by William Wordsworth, all of the poets convey a loss or death, experienced by either the poet themselves, or other people too. In 'Mid-Term Break', Seamus Heaney experiences the loss of his younger brother (he is four years old: 'a four foot coffin, a foot for every year'). In 'On The Train', Gillian Clarke writes about the Paddington rail crash, on 5th October 1999 in which 31 people were killed and over 500 injured. In 'On My First Sonne', Ben Jonson writes about the death of his son, who died as a result of the plague on his 7th birthday in 1603. In 'The Affliction of Margaret' Wordsworth writes about a woman in despair because she does not know where her son is. ...read more.

Middle

Immediately in the poem, Clarke suggests the vulnerability of people on the train: 'cradled' suggests that, like a baby, you are lulled into a false sense of security and perhaps you are vulnerable. This is true: you have no control over the actions of the train, you are 'sitting duck' and are oblivious that perhaps you could die around the corner in an accident, much like Paddington Rail Crash. She also uses this to suggest that this could happen to any of us. The 'walkman' mention in lines one and two sets the time as being modern, and we immediately know that the poem is that of the recent times (aside from the fact of the poem written after the crash, and the crash was in 1999). The metaphor of: 'the black box of my walkman' not only, as mentioned above, suggests the recentness of the poem, but also likens the walkman to the 'black box' flight recorder that is found on airplanes, which records the flight data in case of an accident. This is ironic: the walkman is a 'black box' and yet there has been an accident, to which the black box is related to. ...read more.

Conclusion

The second verse tells the reader that her son has been gone for seven years and her feelings: 'despaired, believed, beguiled' all highlight how she thought he would return and how she is 'beguiled' or 'confused' as we know it. The four poems convey death and loss, or both. 'Mid-Term Break' by Seamus Heaney is about the death of Heaney's four year old brother, and the loss of the entire family. Heaney uses sombre language to set the poem in a sombre tone, and to suggest a feeling of loss and death. In 'On The Train' by Gillian Clarke, Clarke writes about The Paddington Rail Crash on 5th October 1999 and the extreme loss felt by the families of those who perished. In 'On My First Sonne', a short poem of love and grief, the author, Ben Jonson, writes about how he feels love and grief after the death of his seven year old son. In 'The Affliction of Margaret' by William Wordsworth, Wordsworth writes about a woman who does not know where her son is, and is unsure if he is dead, in a cell or dungeon, drowned in a sunken ship or lost in a desert. ?? ?? ?? ?? COMPARISON ESSAY 3 19TH OCTOBER 2004 GEORGE EDWARDS ...read more.

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