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

Seamus Heaney Essay.

Extracts from this document...

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.

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. Marked by a teacher

    Commentary on "Casualty" by Seamus Heaney.

    3 star(s)

    The third section of the poem is of the fisherman's funeral. Heaney speaks with a tone of regret in this section, especially in the first line "I missed his funeral". The fish image is again captured by the metaphor, "Shoaling out of his lane", capturing the image of the funeral procession.

  2. Peer reviewed

    Compare the poems 'Mid-Term Break' by Seamus Heaney and ' 'Out Out- ' ' ...

    4 star(s)

    This lack of emotion emphasises Frost's message of the insignificance of life. The individual is obviously of little value meaning that in the long term mankind is not important. The structure for both poems is appropriate. In 'Mid-Term Break' the structure is regular except for the final lines.

  1. Comparing "Mid-term Break" and "The Early Purges".

    were both young when they died, also snowdrops are white this gives the effect of purity and innocence. Once again the poet shows innocence and also purity now by using "candles" they are usually used for birthdays but on this occasion they are used to sooth and comfort, it takes

  2. Plath and Heaney - In this essay I will be looking at 3 poems, ...

    The lights and noise seem to indicate at building works or machinery, a modern element that is felt nowhere else in the poem. The repetition of the word nothing mirrors the first line, and brings us back to the sensation of negativity and loneliness.

  1. Comparing 'Snowdrops' and 'Mid-termbreak'

    falling snow, bitterly frail and white, and nothing like a flower" The mood in 'snowdrops' changes suddenly from when the boy is anxious to see the snowdrops to hearing the news that someone had died, when miss Webster breaks down.

  2. Comparative Essay Heaney-Clarke

    sense of confusion whereas in 'Mid-Term Break' the poet records the timing exactly and in a direct statement, he remembers small details such as the names of people like his father's friend "Big Jim" this gives a sense of clarity.

  1. "The Past is another country and they do things differently there" an essay on ...

    He even '... pulled old hens necks...' If someone in an industrialized area did that, they would be thought of as being cruel, but in rural areas it is just 'a way of life'. In the sixth stanza, even though the word 'still' isn't actually meaning still as in dead

  2. Seamus Heaney and Sylvia Plath both approach death and ageing in their poems. Seamus ...

    When rats are thought of disease comes to mind. This is the link between the berry and the person. The berry has gone rotten and so the person has got a disease, the 'disease' of ageing as acknowledged by the 'rat-grey' colour. The berries grow to be diseased soon after taken from their life source "The juice was stinking too.

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