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Critical Analysis of Poems by Seamus Heaney

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Critical Analysis of Poems "Choose three poems by Seamus Heaney which you have particularly enjoyed studying. "Write a critical analysis of these poems." This is the title that I have chosen to do my essay on; in this I will examine three poems of Heaney's and complete an analysis of them. The poems I have chosen to look at are: Poem, for Marie, At a Potato Digging and Blackberry Picking. I chose to do Poem for Marie as it is one of the first which he wrote about his wife, and it is written in a different style to most of his previous poems, I thought it would be nice to look at a poem which had been written using rhyme. The reason I decided to look at: At a Potato Digging was because it is mainly about the famine and explores the feelings of the people at this time. Finally I opted to do Blackberry Picking as it is set in his childhood and is a change to the other poems which I have decided to study. Seamus Heaney was born in April, 1939. He was the eldest member of a family containing nine children. His father owned a small farm in country Derry, N Ireland, but was really a cattle dealer at heart. ...read more.


He tries to spend more time with Marie and not write as many poems but every time he finds a subject or some inspiration to write about he finds the need to put pen to paper and write a poem. The final stanza appears to be especially dedicated to Marie: "Whose small imperfect limits would keep breaking" This is Heaney trying to show how he needs her strength to help him, with his writing and through his personal battles. The last stanza also shows that the male gender needs girls (or in Heaney's case Marie) to keep them sane: "Within...the world". "Within our golden ring" The final line is demonstrating how he would like a home and marriage, he shows this through his references to wedding rings, also the fact that rings are round would suggest to the reader that he wants this relationship to last.. This is one of the poems which Heaney wrote which rhymed, I am now going to look at one based on childhood memories which does not rhyme: i.e. Blackberry Picking. This poem describes Heaney's experience of going blackberry picking as a young child and after picking they began to rot: "For a full week, the blackberries would ripen" and "all the lovely canfuls smelt of rot". ...read more.


They lie scattered like inflated pebbles" The third part looks back into Irelands history, and more exactly the potato famine, in 1845 when the blight struck: "The new potato, sound as stone, putrefied when it had lain long days in the pit" The fourth section is similar to section one as it refers to how potatoes are farmed today: "Down in the ditch and take their fill" In the first part Heaney suggests how workers were able to stand upright for a moment before stooping again i.e. "Tall for a moment but soon shamble back". This image implies the ways in which people that have a sense of dignity i.e. servants who are forced to bow to their toil and humble themselves. Modern labourers may be free but they to have a sense of service to the land. In the poem Heaney refers to the 'famine God'. Usually food is based as an offering to the Lord, i.e. such as during the harvest festival. However in the poem Heaney suggests that the Irish workers and farmers fear this native God and believe that they must appease him or her. This point is then supported in the section where Heaney describes the following "Libations of cold tea scatter crusts." The word libation suggests that there are giving offerings in order to appease the God of nature. ...read more.

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