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Mid-term Break by Seamus Heaney and In Mrs Tilschers Class by Carol Ann Duffy . Discuss how the poets have described the ending of childhood innocence in at least two poems you have studied.

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Introduction

Mid-term Break by Seamus Heaney and In Mrs Tilscher's Class by Carol Ann Duffy "Poems can capture important moments in our lives" Discuss how the poets have described the ending of childhood innocence in at least two poems you have studied. I am going to analyse two poems which share the theme of the end of the era of childhood and children growing up. The poems are Mid-term Break by Seamus Heaney and In Mrs Tilscher's Class by Carol Ann Duffy. Each of the poets reflects on memories from childhood concerning important events which took place and marked the end of childhood as they knew it. Seamus Heaney is a Northern Irish poet, from a traditional Irish background, which I feel I can relate to. Heaney was born in N Ireland in Co Londonderry and later studied English at Queen's University in Belfast. Throughout his poetry, colloquial words and typical Northern Irish phrases are used, which produce a response not only in a reader like myself who shares his cultural background, but also those from differing cultural backgrounds, as evidenced in the worldwide popularity of his poetry. Carol Ann Duffy is a very successful Scottish poet from Glasgow. ...read more.

Middle

Her memories are mostly happy. She remembers school as "better than home". It is mainly a positive poem, uplifting the reader, sharing mutual events familiar not only to school aged children but also to a wider audience of varying ages. Not all Duffy's memories were happy however, as she does briefly mention "Brady and Hindley faded like the faint uneasy smudge of a mistake" but doesn't dwell on it as she quickly moves onto how she felt a sense of security and love for her teacher, Mrs Tilscher. Gold stars were a treat for working hard and Mrs Tilscher often left these as surprises. Duffy comments on how she felt at receiving one, "Mrs Tilscher loved you". She comments on the efforts made by Mrs Tilscher to make the classroom an appealing place, "The classroom glowed like a sweetshop". In contrast to Duffy's mainly happy memories, Heaney describes how as a young boy, he saw his father crying, unable to cope with the death of his younger four year old brother, when previously his father "had always taken funerals in his stride-". He speaks of how the neighbour, Jim Evans said the death of the little boy had been "a hard blow" to the family. ...read more.

Conclusion

Heaney would have remembered seeing his brother sleeping in a cot and he refers to the coffin as being a cot. For Heaney his brother had "No gaudy scars" and he sees him looking as he would have remembered him when he was alive but now he is dead. The last line "A four foot box, a foot for every year" stands alone in this poem. Heaney uses monosyllables to let the reader feel the pain he is going through at the death of his four year old brother. We can feel Heaney's shock at the unexpected death of his young brother. Heaney's childhood came to an end with the abrupt and untimely death of his brother. In contrast Duffy's childhood was brought to an end by the remarks of "A rough boy told you how you were born". This was taking place while Duffy was looking at the growth of tadpoles in the classroom, which would have been her only experience of change and growth until that stage. She describes show she "stared at your parents, appalled". Sexual awareness and growing up is a favourite topic of Duffy's. She continues this theme in the last verse of her poem. She compares the weather at the end of the school year to the changing feelings she is experiencing as she enters adolescence. ...read more.

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