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Seamus Heaney - Rural Life.

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Seamus Heaney Rural Life. Rural life in Ireland during the 1940's was based on the old traditions of simple, hard working people, who had no choice but to toil for long hours on the land. They were a community that worked and played together. There was not a lot of money to be had, and whatever little income came into the household would be accounted for. If anything were to hinder that, it had to be dealt with. This included disposing of cats and dogs that would regularly appear around the farm. This way of life is alien too many townsfolk, who are quick to criticise what they consider as acts of cruelty. In the poem The Early Purges, Heaney's description of the kittens scraping the sides of the tin bucket paints a vivid scene of living creatures being intentionally put to their death. ...read more.


It is very difficult for me to imagine any six year old child, not only witnessing the kittens being drowned, but also to see their remains lying in a field to " turn mealy and crisp as old summer dung ". This metaphor makes you visualise the small decaying bodies rotting away in the sun. We know that although Heaney is affected by this episode in his young life, we learn that his outlook changes. When he later hears the noise of pups being drowned he again resorts to the use of slang when he tells us that he simply shrugs and says, " bloody pups ". It is now apparent that he has come to terms with these acts. I find it difficult to imagine ever being able to accept such a cold-hearted approach to life and death. ...read more.


I can picture the " jampotfuls of the jellied specks " which he tells us he collected. His description of the frog spawn by the use of a metaphor " warm thick slober " brings the scene to life. It is easy to imagine the jars filled with the thick slober sitting on the window-sills at his home and on the shelves at school. I enjoyed the linguistic techniques used by Seamus Heaney. His description of rural Ireland brings the countryside to life. I could quite easily picture myself walking and running with Heaney as we headed down to the water to gather the frogspawn. I could hear the bluebottles and the dragonflies zipping past my ear and the sickening crack of the old hens' necks. A lasting memory will be they way Heaney described the way in which not only the kittens but also the puppies were destroyed. Living as close to the countryside as I do, I can easily identify with many of the aspects of rural life. ...read more.

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