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How does Heaney use language to explore the experience of childhood in the 'Early Purges' and 'An Advancement of Learning'?

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Introduction

How does Heaney use language to explore the experience of childhood in the 'Early Purges' and 'An Advancement of Learning'? During this essay I will try to explain how the words Heaney uses in his poems describe his childhood. I will be looking closely at 'Early Purges' and 'An Advancement of Learning'. I will be seeing how Heaney uses language to tell us further about this childhood and upbringing. We are mainly seeing the things he had 2 endure as a child. I will start with the poem titled 'Early Purges'. We can see from the first few lines in what kind of atmosphere Heaney is brought up. Heaney uses very dramatic language; he says his age 'six'. This is the age he was when he saw those kittens drowning so he would have had a very disturbing image for the rest of his life. 'First time' this shows he will have to see many more cruel things of this nature, it is very strong. ...read more.

Middle

'Bobbing', meaning how the kittens were drowned they were going under the water then coming back up, shows how they were struggling which would have been a terrible thing to watch. Words such as 'slung', 'slogged', 'mealy' and 'crisp' make everything sound very dramatic and convey horrible images to the reader looking at the poem through the young boys point of view. Heaney uses the word 'Remains', which makes the kittens sound like they are dead and that is what is left of them. 'Dunghill' reinforces 'scraggy wee shits' in that the kittens are just rubbish and meant nothing, both refer to excretion which again makes everything sound again like rubbish or waste. However towards the end of 'Early Purges' the tone of the poem changes as Heaney matures and realizes why these kittens or for that matter any other animal need to be killed, now this is giving the effect that he is a normal boy. ...read more.

Conclusion

In the final stanza the quote 'crossed the bridge' is very strong it can mean a matter of things, but the one that stands out in my mind is the bridge form childhood to adulthood. After everything he has seen and done in his childhood he is finally past it all and is a man. In this poem Heaney uses Enjambrement this was an excellent thing to put in this poem because it adds to the effect. Furthermore to conclude my essay, I have to say that Heaney had quite a harsh upbringing living on the farm as we can see from 'early purges' because he has seen innocent animals die, he has been subjected to crude language by Dan Taggert. However in 'An Advancement of learning' it is a different story this poem goes on to tell us how Heaney over comes his fears. Heaney uses language very well; by saying 'crossing the bridge' he is saying that he is moving form childhood into adulthood. Heaney uses language well in both poems. ...read more.

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