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Seamus Heaney Essay.

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Introduction

Seamus Heaney Essay Many of Heaney's poems are about death, decay or loss of some kind. Choose two or three poems which you think illustrate these themes and discuss them in detail. Seamus Heaney was born in 1939 in County Derry in Northern Ireland. He was the eldest of nine children and didn't follow in his family's tradition of becoming a farmer. Instead Seamus Heaney decided to become a poet. In many of Seamus Heaney's poems he writes about death, decay or loss. In these many poems where he does talk about loss Heaney does not always mean it literally like in 'The Early Purges' when he loses his own opinions and sentimentality as well as the literal things like the kittens. The poems that I am writing about are all from Seamus Heaney's first book 'The Death Of A Naturalist' published in 1966. The first poem that I am going to write about is 'Mid-term Break'. This poem is about literal loss, the loss of his little brother who was killed in a car accident. Seamus Heaney remembers everything about this day. He wrote this poem when he was in his twenties and his brother died when he was away at boarding school. Seamus Heaney remembers everything about this day he knows the exact times "At two o'clock our neighbours drove me home" he mentions the time again "At ten o'clock the ambulance arrives." ...read more.

Middle

The second poem that I am going to write about is 'The Early Purges'. This poem is about the literal death, decay and loss of farmyard pests and the loss of Heaney's own opinions and sentimentality. This poem is about a farm worker called Dan Taggart who is killing the pests of Heaney's father's farm. Heaney is only six years old and is watching Dan killing the pests. Heaney doesn't want Dan to kill them. 'The Early Purges' means the early getting rid of. Heaney uses this as the title because he was only six years old when first saw Dan getting rid of the kittens. He uses words to show that Dan does not care for the kittens like "pitched" instead of put and "slung" instead of placed. Dan says they're "the scraggy wee shits". Once in the bucket Heaney uses words like "frail" and "soft paws scraping like mad" to make us sympathise with the kittens. Heaney incorporates an oxymoron into the poem "tiny din" which means that they are making the biggest noise that they possible can but it is still quite quiet to us. They drown in the bucket and Heaney did not want them to die and does not like it. Dan sees the look of disgust on Heaney's face and says "Sure, isn't, it better for them now?" ...read more.

Conclusion

Also they would go anywhere to get them "Round hayfields, cornfields and potato-drills". Heaney compares himself to Bluebeard (the pirate) because like Bluebeard, Heaney would do anything to get his hands on the berries, like Bluebeard would do anything to get his hands on the treasure. They filled the shed with them, they went to fill the bath, when they filled the bath mold had began to grow on the berries. Heaney describes it as "a rat-grey fungus" he used this because people see rats as horrible creatures. Heaney says " I always felt like crying. It wasn't fair." He talks as if he was a child, children say that things aren't fair all the time. Every year Heaney hopes that the berries will keep, but he know that they will not. Reality sneaks in and ruins it. It is like in your life you always hope that everything will go well but it does not always. Heaney's poems are either about the death, decay or loss of literal things or untangible things. In 'Mid-Term Break' it is about the literal loss of his brother. In 'The Early Purges' it is about the literal loss of farmyard pests and the loss of his own opinions and sentiments. The poem 'Blackberry Picking' is about the loss of his blackberries but the poem is an extended metaphor so it could be about something else, possibly the death of a person. ...read more.

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