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How does Heaney make "Mid-Term Break" such a moving poem?

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Introduction

How does Heaney make "Mid-Term Break" such a moving poem? In "Mid-Term Break," Heaney uses a variety of devices to make his brother's death moving. The imagery Heaney uses is arguably the most effective technique used in achieving this, although other techniques, such as enjambment are also used. The way Heaney describes "the room" where "the corpse" is in is one way in which Heaney makes the poem moving. We are told that "Snowdrops and candles" sooth "the bedside." Snowdrops are flowers which have a brief flowering period. In this sense, the snowdrops in the poem could symbolise the fact that "the corpse" has also had a brief, short life. ...read more.

Middle

Throughout the poem, Heaney often ends lines mid-sentence (e.g. "the ambulance arrived/With the corpse.") This use of enjambment suggests to the reader that Heaney is having difficulty in controlling his emotions. This explains why some lines end mid-sentence-because Heaney is in such emotional distress that he 'accidentally' ends a line mid-sentence. This invokes sorrow and empathy from the reader. Both these feelings invoked by the reader also make the reader feel saddened, hence making the poem moving. The description of Heaney's mother is a very moving description. The reader is told that Heaney's mother "coughed out angry, tearless sighs." ...read more.

Conclusion

Lastly, Heaney's description of the baby also makes the poem very saddening. In the poem, Heaney has written, "The baby cooed and laughed and rocked in the pram." The fact that the baby is oblivious to anything that is happening shows the reader the innocence of young children. This innocence of the baby, therefore, could be compared to the innocence of the child who has died. This makes the situation even worse as it enables the reader to later realise that an innocent life has unnecessarily been lost. In "Mid-Term Break," Heaney's powerful and concise descriptions of the situation make the poem very moving. The descriptions invoke sorrow and pity from the reader, both of which make the reader feel saddened about the situations described in the poem. ...read more.

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