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The Early Purges.

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The Early Purges This poem by Seamus Heaney contains twin messages that are clearly stated in the penultimate and final stanzas. In the penultimate stanza, verse one Seamus Heaney says, "living displaces false sentiments." This means that Seamus begins his life with sentimental feelings about the kittens being drowned so cruelly. At an older age he changes his feelings(volte-face) to those which Dan Taggart had. "And now when shrill pups are prodded to drown I just shrug." The other message in the final stanza, final verse is that, " On well run farms pests have to be kept down." This message means that it is perfectly normal to kill pests to make sure the farm is well run. The title "Early Purges" skilfully anticipates both these messages. For the message in the penultimate stanza, the title suggests that the six year old(Seamus Heaney) ...read more.


"The scraggy wee shits" from this statement we can understand that he does not care the slightest about the kittens, or anything that happens to them. Seamus Heaney very skilfully interprets the actions by the rhythm of, "They were slung on the snout of the pump and the water pumped in." This suggests Taggart's aggressive stance. The rhythm of this line imitates the actions of the pumping. We know this just by the way he kills the pests on the farm, in a very sadistic way "with a sickening tug, pulled old hens' necks." "Sure isn't it better for them now?" This again proves that Dan Taggart does not care in the slightest about the poor kittens. Taggart is merely justifying himself. Seamus Heaney has very upsetting feelings, some of which are stated explicitly. He was "Suddenly frightened" and later on in the same verse He says how "sadly" he hung about the yard. ...read more.


The image of the poor kittens is stuck in Seamus' head. "They bobbed and shone:" this is a perfect example of the image that is still stuck in his mind. We also find out how many kittens were actually sacrificed, "three kittens." "The Early Purges" tells us much about Seamus Heaney and also Dan Taggart. The attitude of Dan Taggart is one of which is consistent throughout. However it is not the same for Heaney. At the start of the poem we gather that Seamus is absolutely sick and horrified by the actions of Dan Taggart to the poor kittens. Then later on we can gather that his attitude changes dramatically, "And now when shrill pups are prodded to drown I just shrug, 'Bloody Pups.' It makes sense. This is a total contrast towrads the feelings that he has at the start. The poem finishes whilst we are still thinking whether the change that Seams Heaney made was a positive or a negative one. ...read more.

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  1. The Early Purges by Seamus Heaney.

    It reflects the poet's sentiment. It starts as a soft gentle connotation (kittens are pets), which is when the poet was young; he thinks the kittens might not be pests. However, in the last line the 'kittens' moves to the image of 'pests'- a negative connotation, which is when he grows up and has a similar sentiment to the rural people.

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    The cats had no purpose so what was the point of them living so he killed them. The next two sentences "like wet gloves, they bobbed and shone till he sluiced them out on the dung hill, glossy and dead.

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