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How did Seamus Heaney in 'Mid Term Break' explore the concept of accidental death?

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Introduction

How did Seamus Heaney in 'Mid Term Break' explore the concept of accidental death? Seamus Heaney explores the concept of 'Mid Term Break' about accidental death in numerous amounts of ways. However, in this poem, Seamus Heaney does not mention the word death in this poem, nor does he explain specifically who the main character is. Although it is a poem, it can be read as a story because of the on running sentences, therefore it does not rhyme except for the rhyming couplet at the end. Firstly, the title 'Mid Term Break' is a pun. This is because a mid term break is usually a holiday, however, the person in this poem has a holiday from his school for the reason that a death in his family has occurred. In the first stanza the poet explains that the main character of this poem: '...Counting bells knelling classes to a close.' ...read more.

Middle

The scene of a cooing and laughing baby is a happy feeling, which is very different from the mood of a sad death. This has an effect on making the atmosphere ironic. From the past few stanzas, it is not known who the dead person is related to the main character. He has been described as a sibling, and from where it says: 'Whispers informed strangers I was the eldest, Away at school, as my mother held my hand' From this significant information is known that the main character is the elder sibling of the dead person. Furthermore there is also specific information that the main character had been away at school; therefore we know it is a boarding school. The 5th stanza describes the consequence of the main characters reaction towards the death, as he/she 'coughed out angry tearless sighs'. ...read more.

Conclusion

We also know that he is a younger brother because from earlier we knew he was a younger sibling, but it was not known whether he was a brother or a sister. Now it is known that he is a brother from '... on his left temple'. The dead person is indicated as 'his'; therefore we know it is a brother. It is also known that the brother is four years old from '... four foot box.' Lastly, there is clear information that the boy had died from a car accident as it describes '...the bumper knocked him clear'. As a conclusion, 'Mid Term Break' is a sad, depressing, gloomy poem except for the contrast in the third stanza. It gives a clear idea that the poem is about accidental death although it does not use the word death. There were many clues in this poem death had occurred from word such as 'funeral' and 'corpse'. Therefore, in many ways Seamus Heaney describes the concept of accidental death in this poem. ...read more.

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