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

Discuss how Heaney portrays images of family and country life.

Extracts from this document...


Discuss how Heaney portrays images of family and country life. In this essay I will endeavour to explore all various phrases, words, metaphors and diction that contribute towards the portrayal of images regarding family and country life. I shall analyse two of Heaney's poems to gather these images, the two poems being 'Mid - Term Break', taken from 'Death of a naturalist' (Heaney's first collection), and 'Blackberry Picking'. I chose these two poems as I felt that 'Mid - Term Break' portrays family life excellently, whereas 'Blackberry Picking' is just as effective in portraying country life. This essay will also give the reader insight into the mind of Heaney as a young child, as both of the poems are written in first person narrative, his views and thoughts gathered from his childhood, yet written by Heaney as an adult looking back at his youth. I shall first focus on 'Mid - Term Break'. The title immediately suggests that something is wrong or unusual, as it is irregular to have a break during mid -term. The title because of its obscurity brings about two possible emotions. The first, curiosity, releasing the inquisition of, what's wrong? This inquiry is often found being asked by a young child to his/her mother, perhaps driven by their own sense of curiosity frequently found in young children. The second emotion evoked by the title being happiness and relief at the thought of a break from school perhaps. ...read more.


This contributes enormously to the poet's aim of evoking the reader's emotions. The line shows the stress, anger and sorrow of the mother, her cough acting like an illness she can't get rid of, except it is not an illness, but a death she cannot forget. The repetition of assonance this time in the short letter sound 'a' - 'At', 'ambulance', 'arrived' 'stanched' 'and' 'bandaged', emphasises the short, quick stopping of his brother's life. Heaney then refers to his brother's body as 'the corpse', this shows his detachment from the scenario, and again depicts how he doesn't understand the finality of death. He still sees a corpse, a corpse that could be anyone's, not as his brother's body. We are greeted with a clean and pure image in the sixth stanza. The selection of 'snowdrops', 'candles' and 'soothed' create the feeling that the tension has been lifted from Heaney. We learn that he has not seen his brother for six weeks from the line 'I saw him for the first time in six weeks'. This shows the long periods of time that Heaney had stayed away from home for. The word 'him' finally shows his realisation of his brother's death. In this final stanza we are now beginning to understand Heaney's sorrow. We know that he now is accepting the body as his brother's and grieving. He goes on to say that his brother 'lay in the four foot box as in his cot'. ...read more.


However, both of the poems have different aims towards the reader. I feel that 'Mid - Term Break' was written to evoke deep emotions from the reader, whereas I feel that 'Blackberry Picking' was written to create wonderful colourful images of the country. Although I say these two things, I do not wish to say that they do not contain any of each other's qualities at all. For example, although 'Mid - Term Break' evokes emotion, imagery is used in the words 'snowdrops' and 'poppy bruise'. Similarly in 'Blackberry Picking', imagery is it's prominent feature but emotions are evoked when Heaney says 'Each year I hoped they'd keep, knew they would not'. Finally, in conclusion to reading and analysing both poems I feel that Heaney has succeeded in portraying family and country life. I also feel that he has succeeded in evoking much thought from the reader in 'Mid - Term Break'. I feel this because of the range of emotions he depicts throughout this poem. Heaney again has succeeded in making the imagery in 'Blackberry Picking' very eminent, and protrusive. I do not feel that there is a striking similarity in between these two poems at all, although the main similarity in my view is the naivety and confusion felt by Heaney in both circumstances. Of the two poems, I preferred 'Mid - Term Break' because I enjoy a poem which is thought and emotion provoking, and I did not feel that 'Blackberry Picking' provoked much emotion from me at all. ...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. Seamus Heaney's Portrayal Of Pain an Suffering.

    continues and describes how little changed in appearance from when the boy was alive and dead, his apperance was exactly how Heaney remembers him, but wearing a 'poppy rose' on his forehead, Heaney tries to configure how such a small wound can take a life.

  2. Plath and Heaney - In this essay I will be looking at 3 poems, ...

    'I come to one bush of berries so ripe it is a bush of flies, Hanging their bluegreen bellies and their wing panes in a Chinese screen.' The image of decaying berries covered in flies should repel the reader, but Plath makes them seem attractive, making us want to read on.

  1. Seamus Heaney and Sylvia Plath both approach death and ageing in their poems. Seamus ...

    Wearing a poppy bruise on his left temple, He lay in the four foot box as in his cot. No gaudy scars, the bumper knocked him clear. No real grief can be felt in these three lines. The boy is trying to conceal his emotional side.

  2. Write an essay on Heaney's poetry in the light of his statement that it ...

    There is an acknowledgement that he has conspired in the deaths of these martyrs by remaining silent and allowing the reprehensible brutality to occur: "[I] would have cast, I know, / the stones of silence." Although the analogy of the bog, with its implications for the crisis in Northern Ireland,

  1. Seamus Heaney's Portrayal Of Pain and Suffering.

    with Seamus, that is what he has to take in to account whilst he stares at his brother. 'No gaudy scars, the bumper knocked him clear' Because the bumper hit him with such force the brother was flung so far and did not bare any 'gaudy scars'.

  2. The main theme for these two poems is death and how it effects Heaney ...

    He does this by not directly mentioning the death instead he avoids the subject, and the only comment he makes is, "it was a hard blow." This has two meanings, the first one is that it was a hard blow dealt from the car to the boy.

  1. How Seamus Heaney Evokes the Sensations and Emotions of Childhood by Comparing any Three ...

    In contrast, in "Mid-Term Break", there is hardly any use of the sense of touch apart from 'stanched and bandaged' (Line 15) to describe how the corpse looked and felt. Heaney again is much more interested in the deeper emotions than materialistic things in this poem.

  2. Seamus Heaney Essay.

    Heaney was embarrassed and felt he had to be strong because his mother and father are both very upset "I met my father crying" and also "As my mother held my hand in hers and coughed out angry tearless sighs" He writes as if he was an outsider in his

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