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

The poetry of Seamus Heaney is deceptively simple. Examine this comment in the light of his choices of subject, diction, and structure. You should refer to at least two poems in your responses.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

The poetry of Seamus Heaney is deceptively simple. Examine this comment in the light of his choices of subject, diction, and structure. You should refer to at least two poems in your responses. The deceptive simplicity of the poet can be helped to be understood through P A M Dirac, who suggests that poetry tries to tell people in a way that is understood by no one, something everybody already knew. If you can comprehend this, it is easier to see how the poetry of Heaney can be called deceptively simple, the surface which appears to be the reminiscing of his youth, is misleading, in actuality it is hinting at something far more complex and explaining lessons of life that he learnt, that the reader may never grasps. One of the common themes which appear to run through the poems studied is that of childhood experience. They each explore the authors' memories in a different way, showing how his past has made him into the person he is now. All his memories are significant beyond their surface meaning. For example the poems are all set in nature with the exception of 'Mid-Term Break' and beyond the details of his formative years as a farmer's son, are issues which are of much more importance, such as death. Certain words also allude to at other things beside that which the poem simple is, such as the metaphor "as snug as a gun". ...read more.

Middle

"By God, the old man could handle a spade. Just like his old man". This is intended to show the awe and high regard he holds towards his elders as well as hinting at a deeper meaning, the phrase shows the long tradition farming has had in the family, thus making the abandonment of this tradition all the more dreadful in Heaney's mind, as all he wanted to do was "to grow up and plough" (Follower). The voice of the poet is also important, the progression and change in viewpoints for the reader is all due to the influence of voice. In 'Blackberry Picking' the voice of the poet changes from the use of plurals such as "we" and "you" to first person singular, "I" , this links with the structure of the poem which is quite unusual as the stanza appear to have the form of paragraphs. This indicates the transformation from a child's perspective to the adult in retrospect as the poem progresses. The use of plurals for group experience remembered in later life such as the "lust for picking" is sharply contrasted with the sadness he may have felt alone when the blackberries rotted. The lesson to this poem is that good things never last so you should enjoy them while you have them (instead of leaving them to rot). ...read more.

Conclusion

hand 'Mid-Term Break' appears to a poem because of its regular stanza but in fact when read aloud it sounds like the recital of memories free from a poetic form it is the last two line which rhyme that brings the poignancy and the poetry to the ears. Finally it is the sensual language of the poems that captures the experience of the poet best. This use of language that appeals to the senses is important as memory is activated through vivid taste and intense smells. It is through the senses that the reader is stimulated. Descriptions of the senses in 'Digging' include "a lean rasping sound" for hearing, "cool hardness" for touch, "the cold smell of potato mould" and in 'Blackberry Picking' the sight of "a glossy purple clot". In reality it is through our senses that the past comes to life. To capture this within a poem, with writing, takes a skilled poet and a practiced technique. The language of the poem, every single word is important; it may appear simple but if you were to write a poem without any thought there would in truth be no real meaning to the poem. It is through the expertise of Seamus Heaney that the nature of his poems comes to light and we understand that which we already knew and the meaning of a deceptively simple becomes clear. ?? ?? ?? ?? Danielle Kriger English Wordsworth Upper ...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)

    Death seems to be a natural process. There is a very bleak conclusion and outlook on life. There is no sense of redemption or purpose. The final line is the most hard hitting in the poem. 'And they since they were not the one dead, turned to their affairs'.

  2. A comparative study of "The Death of a naturalist" by Seamus Heaney and "The ...

    Heaney called the frogs, 'great slime kings' and felt that they would 'clutch' him. Wordsworth felt that it was one big experience. "And serious mood; but after I had seen that's spectacle, for many days, my brain worked with a dim and undetermined sense of unknown modes of being o'er my thoughts".

  1. GCSE English Seamus Heaney - 'At a Potato Digging', 'Follower', 'Death ...

    father and grandfather have a reputation for great expertise in handling a spade. Heaney would have been expected to follow in his father's footsteps and become a labourer. The poem serves as a justification of Heaney's decision to become a writer, rather than work in the fields.

  2. Explore Heaney's themes and poetic technique in 'Digging' and 'Follower'.

    milk to his grandfather he says that he 'corked it sloppily with paper.', after praising his father and grandfather he belittles himself. The grandfather doesn't even acknowledge him properly he just 'fell to right away'. Then he compliments his grandfather again 'Nicking and slicing neatly', contrasting himself with his grandfather.

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

    When expressed as flies it gives the feeling that Plath is about to tell the other face of the poem. This face of the poem is not the happy side but the death of the berries. The last stanza now has no blackberries spoken of.

  2. How do poets use nature to present their ideas? Refer to "At a Potato ...

    wants to explore the issue of the Irish famine which still continues to hold scars for the Irish people. During this poem Seamus Heaney shows the level of ferocity and the undisputed power of nature together with the direct and influential impact it can have on people.

  1. What similarities and differences can you see in 'The Thought-Fox' and 'Digging' in terms ...

    'The Thought-Fox' has a more clearly defined arrangement within the poem, it follows an order, and it has a beginning, middle and an end. Where 'Digging' does not, it is the reminiscences of the poet as he sat thinking on what to write and has no noticeably regular format apart from specific repetition.

  2. Write an essay on Heaney's poetry in the light of his statement that it ...

    This poem establishes the idea of the physical earth forming an important aspect of national identity. "We are not simply inhabitants of a geographical country"7; this terrain informs the mind and identity. 'The Tollund Man' which is featured in Wintering Out demonstrates how Heaney has seized the fecund symbol of the bog as one "adequate to our predicament".

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