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How is death portrayed in the poem White Roses(TM) by Gillian Clarke and Mid Term Break(TM) by Seamus Heaney.

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Introduction

English GCSE Coursework Poetry Comparison How is death portrayed in the poem 'White Roses' by Gillian Clarke and 'Mid Term Break' by Seamus Heaney. In this essay I hope to explore how death is portrayed in the poems 'White Roses' by Gillian Clarke and 'Mid Term Break' by Seamus Heaney. In the poems, death is portrayed quite differently, In 'White Roses' Gillian Clarke is inspired by nature whereas in 'Mid Term Break' Seamus Heaney talks about his own experiences of death. The title of the poem 'White Roses' tells us that it might be describing a person's childhood. It could also suggest fragility or a sense of purity or innocence. 'White Roses' are also commonly used in funerals for children. However the title of the poem 'Mid Term Break' suggests a kind of holiday and does not prepare you for what is going to happen in the poem. 'White Roses' gives a slight indication of what the poem is going to be about because of white roses being used in children's funerals but other than that is doesn't really prepare you for what actually is going to happen in the poem. Stanza 1 of 'White Roses' is a peaceful one and shows this in the first two lines "Outside the green velvet sitting ...read more.

Middle

Stanza 2 of 'Mid Term Break' gives a clear indication that someone has died. "In the porch I met my father crying He has always taken funerals in his stride" This shows us that his father was a big strong man but this was not a normal funeral for him, it was something personal, poignant and he couldn't cope well at all with the funeral as it hit him hard. At the end of the stanza the poet says "Big Jim Evans saying it was a hard blow" This indicates that maybe 'Big Jim Evans' was a character in the poets life and that he was there to comfort them through this difficult experience the family was going through. Stanza 3 of 'Mid Term Break' is about how he still doesn't quite understand what is going on. The poet shows this when he says "The baby cooed and laughed" This reinforces how he still hasn't come to terms with the death. Carrying on with the stanza the poet says "I was embarrassed by old men standing up to shake my hand" This shows how awkward the situation was for him. Stanza 4 of 'White Roses' carries on talking about the boy and his suffering from the disease. ...read more.

Conclusion

In stanza 6 the boy finally realises the death that's occurred in the family but the reader isn't told who has died. Despite this the person who has died is described as sleeping. The poet shows this when he says "Snowdrops and candles soothed the bedside" This suggests that maybe the poet wanted to soften the blow a bit by describing the person as sleeping. But towards the end of the stanza the poet writes "I saw him for the first time in six weeks. Paler now" This is the part of the stanza which tells us that he has now recognised that this person has died. In stanza 7 the person who has died is revealed to the reader. "He lay in a four foot box, as in his cot No gaudy scars, the bumper knocked him clear" The death was off a young child possibly the poet's younger brother. It shows how violent his death was and how unexpected it was. In conclusion I think death is portrayed better in 'White Roses' because I like the way how Gillian Clarke uses nature to describe the process of death. But I think in both poems that death happens indiscriminately and life continues no matter how much pain an individual is put through. ...read more.

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