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

Mid Term Break Critical Essay

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

MID-TERM BREAK In this essay I will discuss a poem that deals with an unhappy experience. The poem I will discuss is Seamus Heaney's "Mid-term Break." This particular poem is about the death of Heaney's brother. This makes the title ironic, as mid-term break is usually a happy time. This is one of many contrasts within the poem. In the first stanza of the poem, Heaney is waiting to be taken home from his boarding school. He describes "Sitting all morning in the college sick-bay, counting bells knelling classes to a close." The repetition of the letters 'c' and 'l' give the line a rhythm of it's own, almost sounding like the bell Heaney is describing. The use of the letter 'c' gives a harsh sound to the line, contradicted by the use of the letter 'l', which softens the grating sound of the 'c'. The sluggishness of time passing by is emphasised by the 'l', as the speaker would slow down to say it. By "sitting all morning" Heaney shows us that he was waiting patiently. ...read more.

Middle

Another contrast comes in the next few lines: "Whispers informed strangers that I was the eldest, away at school, as my mother held my hand in hers and coughed out angry tearless sighs." Heaney uses an enjambment here. It says how he is still, in this case, treated younger by his mother, even though he is the eldest. His mother could be unconsciously replacing Heaney's little brother with Heaney himself. It also shows Heaney's confusion by not knowing how to react. The idea of passing time continues in the next verse with, "At ten o'clock the ambulance arrived with the corpse, stanched and bandaged by the nurses." The use of the word "corpse" could possibly mean that Heaney is distancing himself from the horror, as he is possibly unable to accept the death. Using "the corpse" instead of "his corpse" shows that Heaney does not think of him as his brother anymore, making the line more upsetting. "Snowdrops and candles soothed the bedside" is a line in the next verse that exercises personification. ...read more.

Conclusion

He was disgusted, possibly feeling contempt for what happened to his brother. This line stands alone to make the reader feel upset and draw attention to how young Heaney's brother was when he died. By doing this, Heaney completely changed to tone of the line. The line standing alone also emphasises how unfair it was that a child this young could die like this, and shows that life is not safely held, and can be taken away at any moment. Seamus Heaney uses many techniques to accentuate the unhappiness of his brother's death, and to develop the reader's understanding of the experience. In my opinion, the most effective of these techniques is the use of contrasts. At certain points in the poem, certainly towards the end, you are not sure whether Heaney is outraged at the death of his brother, or whether he is accepting of it. He creates this uncertainty by using contrasts throughout. Heaney's choice of language and structure describe - and so help the reader understand - how unnatural and horrifying it is for a child to die. ...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. A Critical Appreciation of "Mid-term Break" by Seamus Heaney

    In the first line, poppy bruise gives a connotation that the wound is very large, and red, by the blood. It makes the reader feel sad, because of how young the boy as. The baby "lay in his four foot box as in his cot" and this gives an image

  2. Comparative Essay Heaney-Clarke

    There is also a lot of use of Onomatopoeia such as in 'Cold Knap Lake' Gillian Clarke uses the words bleating to create a sense of innocence, a lamb and life. Also the word whistle which is used to describe the swans, and trying to draw attention towards memory.

  1. I have been studying the poem 'Mid Term Break' by Seumas Heaney. I have ...

    "I was embarrassed by the old men standing up to shake my hand" In stanza four, the phrase 'sorry for my trouble' is in inverted commas. This is indirect speech, as 'my' is written instead of 'your'. This draws attention to what the old men have said - being stuck

  2. What do we learn about Seamus Heaney's childhood experiences of growing up in "Mid- ...

    Though it is usual and respectful to see a relative who has died, I think that here, Heaney is very brave. At such a young age, he was brave and able enough to take a deep breath and say one final personal goodbye.

  1. Seamus Heaney Essay.

    own home seeing and hearing everything "Whispers informed strangers I was the eldest." He uses the word "corpse" to distance himself from his dead brother instead of the word body. It is as if he wants to forget about his brother and act as if nothing has happened.

  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.

  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. Satire Essay

    Being a resident to Geelong, most of Dawe's poetry concerns the common person- his poems are a recollection of the world and problems around him. 'Life Cycle' is one of his more familiar poems that deals with how Victorians are influenced by football.

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