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"Strongman" by Tony Curtis and "Mid-termbreak" by Seamus Heaney deal with the subject of death of a family member. Compare both poems showing how the poets introduce their subjects. Which poem did you prefer and why?

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Introduction

"Strongman" by Tony Curtis and "Mid-term break" by Seamus Heaney deal with the subject death of a family member. Compare both poems showing how the poets introduce their subjects. Which poem did you prefer and why? One of the poets, Tony Curtis, is Welsh, whilst, Seamus Heaney is Irish. Seamus Heaney has grown up on a farm in Northern Ireland with his brothers and his parents. The whole family has taken on the family business of farming, while Seamus Heaney received an education. Both poets are still alive today. These two poems describe the deaths of a family member. The "Mid-term break" is the tragic death of Heaney's four-year-old brother and the poem progresses over twenty-four hours. "Strongman" is describing the author's strong, caring father who dies naturally in "his final hour". While the "Mid-Term Break" had an awkward and devastating mood the "Strongman" has a more positive outlook on the family member's death as it looks back into the younger, happier times. There are a few other comparisons that can be made, whilst the "Mid-Term Break" is a death that shocked people, the "Strongman" was a peaceful and easy to accept death. ...read more.

Middle

Like the crying of the father, this is unusual because the younger generation tend to show respect to the elders by standing while here this is not the case. The description of the mother coughing out "angry tearless sighs" describes how she was sobbing. This could suggest that she is trying to hold back her feelings by not letting herself break down and cry. Because the sentence has carried on onto the next stanza it gives the impression to the readers that she is finding it hard to prevent herself from crying. The noun "corpse" is a very detached word to use about a body of a dead family member. This could suggest how death has come as a shock to the family and does not seem real to them. "Candles and snowdrops" create a church atmosphere. They also give the presence of purity and innocence because they are pure white in colour. Despite the detached attitude towards the dead body, a bruise described as the flower poppy, may suggest to us that he will remember the person. This is because poppies are used for remembering the dead of World War one. ...read more.

Conclusion

This is an appropriate comparison as plywood is, like an old man, very thin and weak. This comparison helps us to picture how a man once so strong is now so weak. The father in this poem is supported in the "cradle" of his arms while he dies, while the younger brother in Heaney's poem is supported in a "box". This could suggest the relationships the poets had with these family members. Curtis may have had a strong bond with his father, however Heaney may not have felt the same towards his younger brother, though, this could possibly be the result of the lack of time they had together as life was snatched away from his brother so soon. Both poems had strong thought provoking endings. One was a shocking last image of a dead four-year old and the other made me, as a reader, think that although I may be upset when someone old in the family dies, that this is natural and that I can accept this death. Though these two poem's theme is death in families I was able to relate to the poem by Tony Curtis, "Strongman", as I was able to rethink about how I feel about the fairly recent death of my grandfather. Natasha Rix 10JT 2 Natasha Rix 10JT 1 ...read more.

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