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How Is The Theme Of Death Portrayed In Both Mid-Term Break And The Early Purges?

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How Is The Theme Of Death Portrayed In Both Mid-Term Break And The Early Purges? The Irish poet Seamus Heaney is renowned for evoking his very personal experiences and feelings throughout his poetry. He frequently calls upon those experiences from his childhood to support his adult feelings over given topics and circumstances. The two poems Mid-Term Break and Early Purges both present two very personal experiences of Heaney's surrounding his juvenile experiences of death. Both poems combine a variation of techniques in miscellaneous manners to present such views. Mid-Term Break concerns itself with Heaney's remorse and suffering over his brother, an unjustified death over which he had no control. Early Purges, alternatively, concerns itself with an inability of Heaney to use such command to prevent an unnecessary death. The titles of both poems are very symbolical to what the poem is all about. 'Mid-Term Break' The word 'break' implies Heaney's break from school, and also the break in his brother's life. ...read more.


On the other hand, in the second stanza of Early Purges, there is no personal emotion from either young Heaney or Dan Taggart. "They were slung on the snout" Heaney's use of the word 'slung' displays disregard and no care for the animals. Is this cruel death necessary? "Soft paws scraping like mad" The contrast of 'soft' and 'like mad' highlights the panic of the kittens. In the third stanza of Mid-Term Break, Heaney's attention is redirected by the baby. "The baby cooed and laughed and rocked" Heaney's use of the word 'laughed' symbolises that the baby is innocent and has no idea of what is happening. This has an immediate effect on the audience, as it sympathises with the young baby. Heaney also feels uncomfortable with all that is happening around him. "And I was embarrassed" The use of the word 'embarrassed' connotes Heaney standing back, distanced, and not used to this type of atmosphere. In the third stanza of Early Purges, Heaney uses simile's to describe the unwanted animals. ...read more.


Does he find his brother's unjustified death hard to cope with? "A four foot box, a foot for every year." In this quote, Heaney is still detached, but the comparison of the length of the box, and his brother's age makes for a very emotional ending to the poem. Heaney finds it difficult to cope with such a loss so young, and thus detaches himself to make things easier. By contrast, in Early Purges, Heaney's attitude changes through the poem, losing his innocence verse by verse. In the final stanza's this is shown. "It makes sense:" Why does it? It is as if Heaney has been conditioned to accept death of 'pests'. The end of the poem is also very effective. Heaney shows contrast between urban and rural views of death. 'Purging' is justified as the animals are referred to as 'pests'. In both poems, Heaney loses something very intimate to him. In Mid-Term Break, Heaney loses his younger brother, in the same way as in Early Purges, he loses his innocence. Mid-Term break is a very emotional and depressing poem whereas Early Purges is very cruel and harsh. Qasim Asghar 11M Comparing Two Poems 29/04/2007 ...read more.

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