• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

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

Extracts from this document...


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.


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.


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.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Pre and Post 1914 Comparison section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Pre and Post 1914 Comparison essays

  1. Trace the history of "the old lie" with particular reference to the poetry of ...

    The effect this has on the reader is that it greatly reduces the shock to the reader and once again maintains a peaceful tone and helps to portray death on the battlefield in a serene fashion. The sound and rhythm of this poem contributes to the serene feel of the

  2. The Comparison of The Red Room and The Cask OF Amontillado

    Montressor uses this as a bait to get Fortunato to come with him. This shows that Montressor is revealing Fortunato's arrogance to the audience. The sentence structure towards the end of the story is short and less varied compared to other parts of the story this is to help create

  1. Comparison of The Daffodils(TM) by William Wordsworth and Miracle on St David(TM)s Day(TM) by ...

    This suggests that his mood has been lifted and that he is no longer detached, but part of a company of flowers. In verse four, the poet returns to the present and reflects on what he saw two years previously and what he has gained from his experience.

  2. How is imagery portrayed in one peom by armitage and one other poem

    narrative which was easily identified by the use of 'I' and 'me', this gives the chance for a reader to understand and get a up-close personal look at a poem from someone else's or a character's point of view.

  1. Compare and contrast the way in which Seamus Heaney and D.H Lawrence describe childhood ...

    as this literally means to ring slowly and solemnly, especially at a funeral. Heaney also includes alliteration on the words "classes" and "close" for additional effect. In the last line of the verse again we get a feeling that everything around him is impersonal, as now, instead of his parents or any relatives at all, his "neighbours drove me home."

  2. Four poets who explore the immense poignancy of the Parent/Child relationship are, Seamus Heaney: ...

    Each of the poets use a range of powerful linguistic devices to reveal the theme of the Parent/ Child relationship. For example, Heaney uses a central extended metaphor of "Digging" to portray how he is "Digging" back his roots through his writing.

  1. Little boy crying

    This fierce man longs to lift you, curb your sadness with piggy-back or bull-fight, anything, but dare not ruin the lessons you should learn", this means that although the father hits the little boy, he knows what the boy feels too, because it makes him cry when he see the boy crying.

  2. Compare the way death is presented in Mid Term Breakand On My First Sonne

    The opening line to OMFS begins "Farewell thou child of my right hand". There isn't anything ambiguous about it, we know immediately a child has died. Broken down into two sections, this line already shows us the tone of the poem.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work