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Comparing Poems

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Rising Five and Mid-Term Break Both Mid-term Break, by Seamus Heaney and Rising Five, by Norman Nicholson deal with the irreversible loss and wastage of life. Norman Nicholson in particular came very close to losing his own life as a young man. He expresses his deep regret over the manner people waste their life by rushing through it, in pursuit of future aspirations. This is unlike Mid-term Break, whose main theme is the incomprehensible loss of a young child and the contrasting reactions of all the family members involved. The theme of Mid-term Break focuses around the grief and shock following the death of a very young sibling whose life was brutally ended and wasted by a car accident. On the other hand, the theme of Rising Five has a more broad application as it critiques a way of living that leads to a wasted life not so different from the case in Mid-term Break. ...read more.


Mid-term Break is written in a largely passive voice. The description of this tragic event is very moving partly because of the author's precise choice of words and phrases in that they describe real details of a life in its continuity. The description of parents crying, a baby laughing, and understated condolences from neighbors convey an atmosphere of almost indifference and helplessness throughout the poem until the last line. In the second line of the first paragraph for example, foreshadowing is effectively used with alliteration to impose a deliberate, eerie rhythm, 'Counting bells knelling classes to a close.' In effect, the placement of the sounds creates the slow and ghastly atmosphere and the addition of the verb; 'Knelling 'further enhances this mood with deliberately slow paced funereal bells directly alluding to death. Rising Five is written in a rather active and lively narration with a lot more imagery whereas Midterm Break is particularly passive and dreary. ...read more.


In effect, the soft sounds that follow the consonants make the comparison easier to understand. In both poems the tone changes from one paragraph to another. Although Mid-term Break is distinguished from Rising Five with its deliberately slow and sad tone, and the other with its rather quick paced, impatient tone both poems end with a similar sad, melancholic note. In conclusion the two poems are very different in terms of structure and use of poetic techniques. Whereas Mid-term Break is written as a ballad in three line stanzas to convey a sense of continuous flow until the abrupt and brutal ending, Rising Five is written as a free verse poem with stanzas of six to seven verses that address the same theme with different metaphors punctuating different variations of the same idea. The use of repetition ingrains the theme of the poem into the reader. Lastly, Rising Five is unlike Mid-term Break in that it is a philosophical consideration on a way to live life, while Mid-term Break deals with human emotions and suffering associated with a single event where life is lost. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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