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For this essay I shall compare Churning Day - by Seamus Heaney, The Sick Equation - by Brian Patten and An Advancement of Learning by Seamus Heaney.

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Introduction

Several of the poems in your anthology deal with personal experience, choose 4 and compare them thinking particularly about how the poets use language to make their experiences more vivid For this essay I shall compare Churning Day - by Seamus Heaney, The Sick Equation - by Brian Patten and An Advancement of Learning by Seamus Heaney. All three poems share very personal experiences which all appear to be recalled from a fairly young age. Brian Patten and Seamus Heaney clearly lived in very different places, Patten was brought up in Liverpool - an exciting and fashionable urban city whilst Heaney grew up in the less glamorous Northern Ireland. Though both poets clearly came from very ordinary working class backgrounds. Churning Day is very descriptive and detailed, it gives a very vivid description of Heaney's experiences on "Churning Day." In the poem Heaney describes Churning Day in enormous detail. He uses lots of adjectives and makes use of metaphors and similes to describe the event so graphically. "The staff, like a whiskey muddler" is a simile describing the equipment used to make the butter. ...read more.

Middle

He has a fear of rats that prevents him from walking across a bridge. This fear is clearly a fear of rats and not a fear of being out alone, the poem is obviously not taken from Heaney's first time out alone. He writes "I took the embankment path (As always deferring The Bridge)" This quote shows that Heaney regularly did this journey "As always" and the quote also suggests that he knew the area. At the beginning of An Advancement of Learning Heaney chooses not to use the bridge because of his fear of rats. By the end of the poem he crosses the bridge and has overcome his fear of rats. This poem is very different to Heaney's other poem Churning Day. An Advancement of Learning has a strong theme of growing up and becoming independent. Heaney tackles his fear alone and without any help, It is about maturity and overcoming fear. This is all very different to "Churning Day" describing family butter making and despite Heaney's description of the awful smell overall the reader pictures Churning Day taking place in a cosy, homely country cottage. ...read more.

Conclusion

The language used is also very sharp in tone which suggests anger. In line 5 the poet writes "in that raw cocoon of parental hate" We associate cocoon with shelter, development and security. In this quote the poet appears to describe a shelter of hate. To describe "home" as a shelter of hate shows huge frankness. The poet was undoubtedly incredibly unhappy at home. The poet even describes his home as a "household" - he distances himself away from home, he does not see it as his home. The poem then describes how he grew up physically but not emotionally - "I grew - or did not grow". We see how he didn't allow anyone to get close to him. Because of his experiences Patten becomes very pessimistic regarding other peoples weddings. He has the idea that they really want to be single. After Line 31 Patten changes his mind, he bluntly admits to being wrong himself. He states his parents were wrong. He says how it is absurd to think that others see things the same as him. ...read more.

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