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Discuss the way in which poets represent death in their poems. The poems are MIDTERM BREAK BY Seamus Heaney, THE FIELD MOUSE by Gillian Clarke, THE MAN HE KILLED by Thomas Hardy and ON MY FIRST SONNE by Ben Jonson.

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Introduction

The purpose of this coursework is to discuss the way in which poets represent death in their poems. The poems are MIDTERM BREAK BY Seamus Heaney, THE FIELD MOUSE by Gillian Clarke, THE MAN HE KILLED by Thomas Hardy and ON MY FIRST SONNE by Ben Jonson. Both THE MAN HE KILLED and THE FIELD MOUSE have the theme of death in battle. Clarke takes a symbolic look at the war. This may be because she wants to show the emotion behind the poem but she cannot go into great detail because she has not experienced it. She shows the horror symbolically but yet it is very graphic. Thomas Hardy takes a more casual approach to his poem. He may have used this method because he wanted to disguise his true feelings. The persona is in a difficult position and has to do his job. The name of Hardy's poem is 'THE MAN HE KILLED'. The use of the word 'he' instead of 'I' shows that the persona does not really want to acknowledge what has been done. ...read more.

Middle

THE FIELD MOUSE suggests that the war is big and has an impact on lots of people. 'Before days done the field is bleeding', this suggests how gruesome the war is and the true velocity of the war. In stanza three, Hardy gives reasons as to why he has done what he has done. 'I shot him dead because - because he was my foe.' The dash suggests that he has difficulty to find the reasons for his actions but has trouble finding the true reason. He then uses tautology to convince himself that this is the reason and he was right to do it, 'just as my foe, of course he was.' Hardy's phrase 'quaint and curious war is' contrasts with the view of war that Clarke has. 'Their bones brittle as mouse ribs,' shows how innocent and defenceless some of the victims can be. This contrasts with Hardy's poem once again because he believes that the man who he killed was not defenceless because he too had a gun and would have used to kill. ...read more.

Conclusion

This is different to MIDTERM BREAK because Heaney has shown that his father was a strong man but not even he could hide his true emotions. His father does not want to lose the feeling because it is a reminder of his son and the love they shared. This is shown in the phrase 'in the porch I met my father crying.' In both poems a sense of innocence and vulnerability is portrayed in the dead children and their families, 'rest in soft peace.' The word 'soft' is the emphasis of the age and type of child. This is enforced again when Heaney makes reference to the 'snowballs.' Heaney is in a sense of denial at the death whereas Jonson accepts it and tries to move on. You can tell Heaney's thoughts because he refers to his brother's coffin as a 'cot.' When Heaney states that his brother is 'wearing a poppy bruise' he is hopeful that his brother is only hurt slightly and will recover. Both poems have similar nature and express different views on the matter of death. PAUL MONAN 12K ...read more.

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