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seamus heaney.compare and contrast digging and midterm break

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Compare and contrast two of Seamus Heaney's Poems Seamus Heaney was born in county Derry Northern Ireland In 1939.Born into an traditional Irish catholic family Heaney was the eldest of nine children. Growing up on the family cattle farm, surrounded by the lifestyle and traditions that his father, mother and many generations before him had, it was assumed that Heaney would follow in their footsteps. And continue to farm the land and devote his life to the countryside. However Heaney had greater aspirations which ventured far further than the potato drills of his home. After winning various scholarships and gaining a sound education at Europe's largest catholic grammar school, Heaney's works would lead him to be awarded the Nobel prize for literature in 1995.Although Heaney did not choose to carry on the trade of his forefathers it is clear in his works that he was heavily influenced by the childhood the country life gave him, with many of his poems having strong referencing towards his upbringing and the significant events that shaped his early life. In this essay I will be analyzing two of Heaney's poems 'Mid Term Break' and 'Digging'. Both poems being taken from his first collection of poems 'Death of a Naturalist'. I will be discussing their themes, ideas, the mood, tone, focusing on poetic teqnique and giving my own personal response to the poem. The First Poem I will be looking at is 'Midterm Break'. The Poem tells of the death of Heaney's infant brother and the events that surrounded the event. Heaney recalls his personal reactions and that of those around him. ...read more.


He describes what the ambulance came to deliver. 'the corpse stanched and bandaged by the nurses' Heaney's choice of the word corpse is bitter, with the parts corpse often being associated with murder and the police. It shows no loving emotion from Heaneys part towards the body as if Heaney has not at all accepted the death of his brother to be fact. It is a reaction of denial and disbelief. But the use of the phrase 'stanched and bandaged' portraying a clean and presentable image of the body contrasting with the previous image of a corpse. This stanza again shows Heaney using assonance, this time in his repetition of the short 'a'- 'At' 'Ambulance',' arrived' , 'stanched' and 'bandaged - possibly emphasizing the stopping short of life and blood. The penultimate stanza brings us to the next day.' Next morning I went up into the room. Snowdrops And candles soothed the bedside; I saw him For the first time in six weeks. Paler now'. Here we find that it is the first time Seamus has seen his brother in six weeks. The images of snowdrops suggest a clean and calm atmosphere. Heaney described how the candles soothed the bedside and infact they quite literally soothed the young Seamus. The atmosphere in this room is in great contrast to the hot fuss and awkwardness that the first room presented him with when he first came home from school. The atmosphere is peaceful and tranquil. We see here that Heaney uses personal in the last two stanzas,' him', 'his' contrasting to his previous description of his deceased brother as just a corpse. ...read more.


In contrast 'digging' forms a looser structure with a nostalgic overtone. Focusing on fond memories. There is a sense of it all being written down as the memories occur. Both poems focus on events including his family proving his closeness to them .However the emotions connected with his family in the separate poems are very different. With the focal theme of 'Mid-term break' being of awkwardness and death, for example he uses the word 'knelling', which is often associated with funeral bells.' 'Digging' on the other hand explores the themes of joy, comfort and pride 'By God, the old man could handle a spade'. And the significance of the relationship with his father in the two poems, How they are totally different in each poem. In 'Mid-term break' Heaney's views from' Digging' of his father being strong and tough are tainted by the occurrence of his brothers death where his father is reduced to an emotional wreck. The attitude towards his father is a key contrast in the poems. But it is the direct vivid imagery and techniques that are used to convey this imagery that compare Heaney's poems directly to one another. His style of poetry engages the reader in a way that makes the poem feel personal and real to the reader. Personally I found the ideas and in depth meanings of digging very effective and interesting. The poem recounts a rural world where without Heaney's 'Digging' we may not be aware of .However the connection that Seamus Heaney creates with his reader ,no matter what the theme or mood of the poem, it is a strong personal connection reinforced constantly by his vivid ,sensory imagery and description . ?? ?? ?? ?? Lydia Dale 10R Mrs Hughes G.C.S.E English 1 ...read more.

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