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Commentary for The Skunk

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Commentary for The Skunk Name: Louise Chui Lok Yi 12XN Date: 28th September 2005 Teacher: Mrs. Nuala O'Connell "The Skunk" by Seamus Heaney is set at night in California. A man is away from his wife and while he is writing in the darkness, a skunk passes by and takes on the qualities of his wife. The themes of this poem are sexual desire, and the love Heaney has for his wife. This poem is highly conversational and heavily descriptive of the environment as well as the feelings of the poet. The poem contains academic terms such as "mythological" as well as words from a foreign language, such as "voyeur" in the poem. ...read more.


There is also a reference to sex, the "small oranges" represent a distinct part of a woman's body. At this point, the speaker begins to "tense like a voyeur". The word "voyeur" has a negative connotation showing that the speaker is very uncomfortable with his own self-image. The third stanza is the opposite of the sentence structure of stanza 2. It uses enjambment to accelerate the pace of the poem and to increase in intensity of the poem. It creates a sense of urgency and excitement while allowing a flow of emotions. He describes the relationship he has wife his wife, the words "composing" and "love" both imply care and tenderness. While the words "broaching" and "cask", that are often used to describe the process of wine making, focus on the value of the relationship as well as its maturity and age. ...read more.


Her position over the "bottom drawer" searching for the "black plunge-line nightdress" returns to the metaphor of the skunk because of the same stance the image of his wife is in. It is however, ironic that Heaney's wife is looking for her dress when he finds her already extremely attractive without anything on. Black is the dominant colour in the poem. The colour has diverse associations with mystery, the night, a wild animal, sex as well as sadness. It is a mixture of glamour, sex and allure. Heaney also uses zoomorphicism to transfer the eroticism he derives from a skunk onto his wife. It shows the naturalness of the relationship, the animal sensuality they experience the primitive nature of sex and the skunk is used to emphasises the context. ...read more.

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