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

I have been studying the poem 'Mid Term Break' by Seumas Heaney. I have been asked to write an essay about the techniques which Heaney uses to make this poem so moving.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

In class recently, I have been studying the poem 'Mid Term Break' by Seumas Heaney. I have been asked to write an essay about the techniques which Heaney uses to make this poem so moving. The title of the poem is deliberately deceptive because the phrase 'Mid Term Break' suggests a term-time holiday, which is normally a happy occasion. In reality, the meaning of the title is considerably less cheerful as, later in the poem, we learn that Heaney's younger brother has died. Therefore, the word 'break' in the title refers to a break in the family. In the first stanza, we are immediately aware that there is tragedy underlying the poem. The phrase "Counting bells knelling classes to a close" signifies that there has perhaps been a death; bells 'knelling' are often linked to funeral processions. Heaney has also used alliteration in this line, which helps us to stir up some of the unhappiness. Long vowel sounds such as ou, ell, ass, ose and 's' are used to reflect the sound of bells, which give this stanza a slow, pounding rhythm. Again, this could be to signify the somberness of the situation. Our suspicions of a death are confirmed in the second stanza, when the narrator describes his father as having "always taken funerals in their stride." ...read more.

Middle

She is holding his hand to try to reassure him but also it is probably because she is trying to reassure herself - she doesn't want to let him go and lose another son. The choice of words 'coughed out angry, tearless sighs' is a strange one, as sighs can't be angry, and you can't cough them out. These words are very effective at showing the mother's grief of losing her son. Grief is made up of sadness, anger and pain. These emotions are taken by Heaney and the contrast between them is used to portray a powerful and moving picture of her feelings. Her sighs were 'angry'. This shows the mother's anger at her son being taken away from her so tragically. The choice of words is a good one, as in one line, Heaney has depicted all the feelings the mother has and made it very powerful and full of emotion. By stanza five, we still have not been told directly that someone has died. The reference to funerals and grief makes this visible, but in this stanza the death is made clear by the words 'the ambulance arrived with the corpse'. Stanza six tells us that the narrator finally sees his brother 'for the first time in six weeks'. ...read more.

Conclusion

'A four foot box, a foot for every year' is a very moving line on which to end the poem. It tells us the age of the boy and the complete tragedy which was bestowed upon him. He had hardly begun to live his life, yet his existence was snatched away from him. It makes us all see that you can die at any point in your life, whether young, old or middle-aged. The poem makes you want to treasure every day as it could be your last. It also leads you to think of your life and how much you value it very seriously, as it tells of a loss which was so unexpected and tragic. I really enjoyed reading this poem and studying the techniques Heaney uses to make this poem so very moving. It is a deeply emotional poem and I felt moved reading it. Heaney abstains from using dialogue, and this sums up the typical situation perfectly. When people are hit by something so sad and unexpected, they are struck dumb in their grief. I feel that Heaney has made a truly exceptional job of making this such a moving poem and showing very accurately the way people deal with unforeseen tragedy. I found this poem fascinating to read and would certainly recommend this poem to anyone. Mid Term Break Donald N Morrison SG - Folio Work Sir E Scott School Page 1 ...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 Seamus Heaney 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 Seamus Heaney essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Mid-Term Break: Critical Essay. Heaney reveals his true feelings to us in the ...

    3 star(s)

    person is "paler now", which shows that he has now acknowledged the death and has accepted it. Alliteration is used a lot in this stanza again, which makes the words stick in your head. Heaney describes a bruise on the left temple of the dead person, as a "poppy".

  2. Comparing 'Snowdrops' and 'Mid-termbreak'

    well, he also uses much less descriptive language, for example when he talks about a gentleman named Jim Evans, he says; "Big Jim Evans saying it was a hard blow" For those people he has more respect for he seems to describe much more.

  1. Seamus Heaney's Portrayal Of Pain and Suffering.

    She would be made an outcast if she kept it, so she resorted to this. 'He was hauled in with the fish.' I think that 'hauled' is not the most appropriate word to use, as it give the impression that the baby was thrown, when I think it slowly floated away from the mothers arms.

  2. "The Past is another country and they do things differently there" an essay on ...

    When someone dies in an urban area, it can be front age news, depending on who it is. When someone dies in a rural area, it isn't taken as well as it used to be because they are so modernised, but still take it better than urban people.

  1. Compare and contrast the poems 'Death of a Son', 'Mid-Term Break' and 'Remember' - ...

    'He turned over as if he could be sorry for this And out of his eyes two great tears rolled, like stones, And he died.' The most powerful line in the poem being only three words - three very simple and detached words capturing the final end of the poem.

  2. In this essay I will be describing the techniques used in the poems "Out, ...

    Robert Frost gives the role of the villain to the saw because they are known to be a dangerous tool if in the wrong hands. Using a saw is a good idea because everyone knows what a saw is so it could be real.

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