• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month
Page
  1. 1
    1
  2. 2
    2
  3. 3
    3
  4. 4
    4
  5. 5
    5
  6. 6
    6
  7. 7
    7
  8. 8
    8
  9. 9
    9

The main theme for these two poems is death and how it effects Heaney in its different forms as a child.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Heaney Essay The main theme for these two poems is death and how it effects Heaney in its different forms as a child. Both poems discuss his emotions and how he reacts in each and every situation. Heaney was brought up in Ireland on a small farm so he had to deal with death on a day to day basis, whether it be newly born animals or loved ones; Heaney encountered it all. As the poems progress we begin to see more of Heaney's personality and how he deals with deaths not matter how small they are. Eventually, we begin to see changes in him, as the boy becomes a man and he starts to grow up. 'Midterm Break' begins with Heaney describing how bored he is and how slowly time is passing for him personally. He says, "I sat all morning in the college sick bay," this suggests that he feels like he has been waiting for ages. It is also ironic that he is sat in the college sick as he is not sick at all but his little brother is dead. "Counting bells knelling," really shows how bored he is, as you must be really stuck for something to do if you are counting the number of bells that ring. Within this line there is also evidence to show that death is at the forefront of Heaney's mind as he describes the bells as, "knelling." A knelling is what you would usually get at some ones funeral. Although it is not obvious, the thoughts of his brother's death are there they are just shown in very subtle ways. Another person that is thinking about the death is Heaney's father, this however, is a lot more visible. His father has taken the death very hard, which we are told is unusual. "In the porch I met my father crying, He had always taken funerals in his stride," points out just how hard he has taken the death, and how strange it was for his father to be crying. ...read more.

Middle

This also shows he has begun to accept who the corpse is. Within this line there is also proof to show that Heaney hardly ever saw his brother, Heaney most feel bad about this, even though I doubt it is his fault, as he wouldn't of mentioned it otherwise. I'm sure Heaney regrets the fact that he hardly ever got to see his little brother, and i think that he feels responsible for this when it is in no way his fault. In the next stanza Heaney begins to notice things about his little brother, like the bruise on the side of his head. He describes it as "Poppy" shaped. This is ironic as poppies are the symbol of rememberance and I don't think Heaney will ever forget his little brother. Also heroin and opium can be derived from the seeds of poppies, these are both very effective pain killers. His brother now feels no pain, no hurt, no suffering as a result of the accident. Once again on the next line Heaney is remembering his brother when he was alive as he says, "He lay in the four foot box as in his cot." This is also a simile and it also points out again how young he was when he died, as Heaney can remember when his brother was a little child as it was not long ago. "A four foot box, a foot for every year," is Heaney's closing line. This is a very abrupt ending, just like his brothers. The line breaks the pattern of the three line stanza and throws you off. Heaney has quiet obviously done this for effect and to leave you with something to think about. This line is basically the punch line to the poem as it thrusts into your face how horrific it must be to see a child of that age dead, lying in his coffin. ...read more.

Conclusion

However, he just says "on well run farms pests have to be kept down. The goes totally against what he was saying at the start of the poem. He is almost repeating what Dan has said to him right from the start, its almost as if Heaney has been indoctrinated from living on a farm. His emotions have now been permanently dulled to the point where he does not care about the animals on the farm, as all he sees them as is away of making money. I think the reason he says "on well run farms pests have to be kept down," instead of just farms, is that if the pests were not killed the farm would not function properly. These animals do not have to be killed but they do if money is to be made. This is what the people in town do not see, this is why they think killing animals is cruel, because the do not have to make a living out of this. In the final two verses more change can be seen in Heaney than in the whole of The Early Purges. He has finally grown up and got rid of his childish sentiments and his priorities have changed. This is very much like the last two verses of Mid Term Break in the fact huge changes can be seen in the way Heaney acts. In Mid Term Break Heaney finally comes to terms with his brothers death, and in The Early Purges he accepts that the animals have to be killed. In his own little way Heaney grows up in each poem. The moral of The Early purges is, in essence, how ever much you grow attached to something on a farm when it becomes useless it will have to be killed. In some respects this has some parallels in life. I think this is what Heaney is really trying to point out. ...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. 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.

  2. In the poem 'The Affliction of Margaret', Wordsworth analyses the pain of a Mother ...

    In 'Follower' the first three stanzas concentrate on the strength of the Father. This then followed by two stanzas in which the son states his eagerness to continue work in his father's footsteps. There is then a complete change of tone in the last stanza as the events move from the past into the present day.

  1. Seamus Heaney had a Roman Catholic upbringing in a rural area of Northern Ireland. ...

    There is not a capitol letter in the 5th verse because it is talking about her.

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

    "But" shows the man accepts what they think but he still has to do it. The last line of this poem makes you think about what has happened and what has just been said, "pests have to be kept down" this sums up the poem.

  1. culture and the heritage in heaney

    slows down the pace of the poem, which also causes emphasis on certain words and phrases. "Strange Fruit" contains a lot of internal rhyme. For example: "Pash of tallow, perishable treasure:" This phrase contains the letter "a" repeatedly. By doing this, I think it softens the mind picture of the

  2. What do we learn of Seamus Heaney, both as a child and as an ...

    It seemed as if things were going to carry on like normal as if everyone hasn't yet accepted it. The lines ; 'When I came in, and I was embarrassed By old men standing up to shake my hand And tell me they were sorry for my trouble Whispers informed

  1. In his poems 'Follower and Digging' Heaney is thinking about his father. How do ...

    He did not have the skills to dig, that the men before him did. Seamus Heaney has used the repetition of the first and last verse. This suggests to the reader that what goes around comes. The younger generation cares for the older until the younger ones become the older generation.

  2. The four poets present death in many but different effective ways. In .MidTerm Break. ...

    Metaphors are used to describe the view that the eagle has from where it is hovering. This shows how far up the eagle is and how it seems that the eagle has power over its victims that lie so far below on the ground.

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