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Many people are concerned with a sense of loss or deep sadness at a particular event. Examine the means by which a poet, in one poem, conveys either of these emotions to you.

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Introduction

Mid Term Break Question: Many people are concerned with a sense of loss or deep sadness at a particular event. Examine the means by which a poet, in one poem, conveys either of these emotions to you. 'Mid Term Break' by Seamus Heaney deals with the theme of death. The poem is about Heaney having going through the loss of his brother Christopher but more the loss of strength and innocence. Christopher died at the very young age of four by a horrific car crash while Heaney was away from home for his education. Heaney becomes aware of how alienated he really was from his family by this incident. Heaney's word choice effectively creates images which convey a sense of loss before the focuses on the individual who has died. His use of ''knelling'' to describe the classroom bells has obvious connotations of a funeral bell which we feel gives the reader an insight into what's to come next. ...read more.

Middle

Heaney's colloquial reference reminds us of the euphemisms people use to express their sympathy. Often people can't effectively convey their feelings and make clumsy efforts to comfort those who can't be comforted. "And Big Jim Evans saying it was a hard blow" is in contrast with "a bumper knocked him clear" uses euphemism in this part trying to soften the words of Big Jim Evans on that occasion because of the situation. It is ironic that Heaney has mentioned "a bumper knocked him clear" towards the ending of the poem. Heaney's use of parenthesis is also a effective technique as it conveys how devastating that Christopher's death really is. In second stanza Heaney's use of contrast here is very interesting. When he mentions "He had taken funerals in his stride" he was trying to explain to the readers that his father could handle virtually everything and yet he mentions "I met my father crying." This highlights the surprising and unusual nature of his father's outburst. ...read more.

Conclusion

"The baby cooed and laughed." The baby was just oblivious to everything. It was a funeral and the baby's action towards everyone else reminds us of the innocence of the child which applies to the loss of innocence throughout the poem. The final stanza also gives us a sharp paining full feeling which reminds us of Christopher's childhood. The fact being he never really had much of a childhood because he died so young. "A four foot box, a foot for every year." The alliteration here highlights the fact that the coffin is actually Christopher's cot. Even though this is a sad time, I cant help but notice the frustration that's within Heaney as he places the image of a speeding car with a final memorial to the loss of life, potential and innocence within him. The final line showed most loss of the poem. Some techniques were most effective like the use of alliteration on the last line. The contrasts Heaney made through out the poem also were very effective in the poem. Loss of innocence is inevitable with growing up. I think that's the message Heaney was trying to convey. ...read more.

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