• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Critical Analysis of Poems by Seamus Heaney

Extracts from this document...


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.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Seamus Heaney section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Seamus Heaney essays

  1. A comparative study of "The Death of a naturalist" by Seamus Heaney and "The ...

    He was actually comfortable with what he was doing. This is very different in Heaney's poem, because Heaney described it as a hell like place. This was completely different if you compared it to William Wordsworth's poem. The beginning of "The Prelude" is peaceful, "One summer evening (led by her)

  2. GCSE English Seamus Heaney - 'At a Potato Digging', 'Follower', 'Death ...

    �? �? Catrin - Poems explore the connections between parents and their children and they explore the way in which these relationships can leave people feeling torn. Both poems involve the narrator looking back into the past to make sense of the present.

  1. Seamus Heaney has Vivid Memories of his Childhood. Analyse Two Poems That Reflect Heaney's ...

    Instead of putting, 'I held my mothers hand' he said that his mother was holding his, showing that she was looking to him for support, instead of the other way round. The use of the phrase 'Whispers informed strangers', is a very effective way of creating vivid imagery of people seeing Heaney and feeling sorry for his loss.

  2. "Both Seamus Heaney and Carol Anne Duffy explore childhood in their poems - What ...

    He uses powerful language to get his thoughts across to the readers: "The scraggy wee shits" Duffy also uses the 'F' word, to indicate the anger in "Litany". This is where she is rebelling through language. Duffy uses lists in some of her poems, such as "In Mrs Tilscher's Class",

  1. Compare the ways Heaney writes about people and the natural world in 'Digging' and ...

    The people are described as being 'dim, weird forms, struggling' on through the gale. At the end of this poem, Whitman states that 'savage trinity warily watching'. The alliteration exaggerates the fact that the storm may not just be an accident.

  2. Discussing two or three Poems in Detail, Explain how you think Heaney Develops our ...

    The images of Heaney's father being taught to dig by his father are very powerful and effective, because they show the reader the strong bonds between humanity on a farm, and that human nature has not changed. The last line, "The squat pen rests.

  1. At A Potato Digging

    The workers were also said to stooping in a "processional" manner, suggesting the singing of hymns in a processional movement of clergy and choir in church. Furthermore, in the final section of the poem, the "Brown bread and tea" recall the act of communion, and the remaining cold tea is

  2. Compare the ways in which Pat Barker and Seamus Heaney use language as a ...

    However, he irreverently describes it as a "gob-stopper." In 'Regeneration' there is an abundance of visceral imagery and detailed description: "He began shovelling soil, flesh and blackened bone." This is also seen through Heaney's language in 'Punishment,' '...of your brain's exposed /and darkened combs.'

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work