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Mid-Term Break and On My First Sonne Comparison Essay

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Discuss the ways in which these poets explore the universal themes of grief and loss. (Seamus Heaney's 'Mid-Term Break' and Ben Johnson's 'On My First Sonne'. In this essay I will be comparing and contrasting the two poems 'Mid-Term Break' by Seamus Heaney and 'On My First Sonne' by Ben Johnson. I will be focusing on their elegaic qualities aswell as their universal themes of grief and loss. 'Mid-Term Break' is about the aftermath of Seamus Heaney's 4 year old brother's tragic death and how his family and friends express their emotions and cope with the sudden loss. Whereas the 17th Century poet, Ben Johnson is writing to express his sorrow for the death of his 7 year old son dealing with his feelings of loss rather than thinking about the reasons for the death or the effects of this on the rest of the family. These are the intended effects they both have which I will be exploring and I shall be outlining reasons for this aswell in the rest of this essay including the interesting poetic devices and structure Ben Johnson and Seamus Heaney use and how they are similar and different from each other. ...read more.


Johnson has described in line 5, 'O, could I loose all father, now. For why', that he has intense grief and is questioning faith for why it happened to him. But the abrupt features account for the theme of loss in each poem aswell which is similarly very open in 'Mid-Term Break' leaving nothing to the imagination, it paints a full picture of the scene in line 16, saying 'Snowdrops and candles soothed the bedside I saw him for the first time in six weeks. Paler now,' this tells the reader the loss that everyone suffered and a place of mourn was set up for a long time in Heaney's brother's old room. Also, the themes of loss do not only reflect on what family members and friends suffered. It suggests the loss of a childhood in two forms, Heaney and his brother. The reason being that obviously a child has passed away, but Heaney had to act very mature and throw away his child-like naivety to be told the horrible truth and to cope with the situation. I know this because it says 'When I came in, I was embarrassed by old men standing up to shake my hand' which is on lines 8 and ...read more.


A small factor I can also see is the final line in 'Mid-Term Break' which has a great effect in compelling the reader to make up their minds on how he was feeling in an eerie final sentence. In terms of the language choice he has used in my opinion he is expressing anger by using the dramatic metaphor 'A four foot box, a foot for every year' which means that his brother was only four years old. Ben Johnson has included a dramatic sentence that represents the bad influences and effects the world has on a child and that his son has escaped it in line 7 which says 'To have soon scap'd worlds and fleshes rage', this represents that he has escaped evil and temptation (In the Lord's Prayer). Overall, my opinion on these two poems is that Seamus Heaney's 'Mid-Term Break' and Ben Johnson's 'On My First Sonne' although similar in representing the themes of grief and loss, are two very different poems in factors such as their intended audiences and religious / secular views. The structure of the poems are very different in stanzas and grammar (Because of era when published) and both of the poems do explore the themes in a similar way but for different intended purposes. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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