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

The opposition between architectonic masculinity and female feeling for mystery and divination underlines much of Heaney’s writing and may be seen in the two part divisions of Wintering Out and North

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Sarah Bailiff                Yr 12 Lit

Seamus Heaney Long Essay

Question 4

“The opposition between architectonic masculinity and female feeling for mystery and divination underlines much of Heaney’s writing and may be seen in the two part divisions of Wintering Out and North[1]. In literature, representations of femininity and masculinity may be seen in terms of contests for power and possession. In Heany’s work, the representations of gender can be read as two opposing yet complimentary representations of gender interactions. The first of which, can be seen in ‘Tollund Man’, from Wintering Out, 1972. The poem represents “a woman who dooms, destroys, puzzles and encompasses the man”[2]. In this poem, Heaney conveys the seductive power of the bog  goddess, and the weakness of the unearthed ‘bridegroom’. The poem functions to comment on Heaney’s society, by relating it to the fate of the Tolland man, yet it also represents the power held by women in a gendered hierarchy created by foundations of fear. This was due to the way Irish society related ordinary women to ideas of Mary, the mother of god, and Celtic mythological heroines. In the poem, the bog is represented as a place of sex and marriage, but also as a place of execution and necrophilia.

...read more.

Middle

“I could risk blasphemy,

Consecrate the cauldron bog

Our holy ground and pray

Him to make germinate”

The religious instances of part two are particularly important in the construction of women in terms of power and possession as it reinforces the fears produced by men, by likening women to the mythological goddess in part one, and here, a representation of religious sacrament, or mother Mary, in part two. Mary’s role as the embodiment of maternity reinforces a biological instance on a woman’s function as reproducer.

Adoration of her paradoxical virginity masks a hatred of the unclean female body and denial of female desire. This belief is what drives the poem to function as a representation of the imagery of woman that drove men to misogamy. The hatred of ‘unclean’ women, teamed with the imagery of the ‘goddess’ raping a corpse in order to ensure the renewal and fertility of the territory. It depicts the idea that the goddess seduces ‘bridegrooms’ to satisfy her female desire and her biological instance to reproduce.  This imagery shows that women are portrayed as the dominant sex particularly to the male inclination to fear them. However, this religious reference also likens the bog to that of a Holy place “Our holy ground and pray”.

...read more.

Conclusion

*2137 words*


[1]  “The poetry of Seamus Heaney ” (Gender, colonialism, nationalism); edited by Elmer Andres – Pg 120

[2],3 “The poetry of Seamus Heaney ” (Gender, colonialism, nationalism); edited by Elmer Andres – Pg 128

* “Seamus Heaney – New Selected Poems 1866-1987”; Faber and Faber, London, 1990

** “The oxford English Dictionary” C.T. Onions, 1983, Oxford University Press

...read more.

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Height and Weight of Pupils and other Mayfield High School investigations 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 Height and Weight of Pupils and other Mayfield High School investigations essays

  1. the representation of women in Greek tragedies

    Yet, it is impossible to separate Medea's actions from the limitations placed upon her by a chauvinistic society. Medea's opening speech to the Chorus eloquently emphasizes the injustices that befell women in ancient Greece. While Athens was the birthplace of democracy, Euripides shows that this was a privilege reserved only for wealthy adult males.

  2. An eating disorder is a serious disruption of a persons eating habits, it some ...

    30 females aged between 18 and 25were assigned to an individual with bulimia or a control group on the basis of questionnaires and interviews. Then they were all tested in a laboratory. They listened to two descriptions, one was of a neutral scene, (sitting in a library)

  1. Video Games are profoundly sexist, and largely reflect a dominant ideology, which reinforces unequal ...

    She has a disproportionate body -- with enormous breasts and a tiny waist. In reality she shouldn't be able to move that easily in shorts that tight. She is also easily manipulated and there are issues that, because of this easy manipulation, it makes them feel more dominate.

  2. Investigation on the shape and size of limpets on a sheltered rocky shore called ...

    The greatest height/base ratio at 3m was 0.65, and the lowest ratio was 0.25. Furthermore the greatest height/base ratios were at the vertical height of 6m from chart datum, at this point the greatest ratio was 1.38, and the lowest ratio was 0.44.

  1. the representation of women in the Greek tragedies

    It is Medea's subordinate and disempowered status in this society, not only as a woman but also as foreign women that leads her to proclaim "we women are the most unfortunate." Euripides's presents a woman who was so consumed with passion for her husband that she willingly abandoned her own family and home to live in foreign land.

  2. Find out whether the 'new man' exists and if the gender roles are equally ...

    However, roles are much more equal in both decorating and gardening. Attitudes to household chores, 2000-01, United Kingdom, Percentages METHODOLOGY I am going to use many different research methods to gain a result for my hypothesis. I will carry out an Participant Observation which will enable me to understand the

  1. Contrast and compare the two central protagonists in the poems 'Knife Play' and 'The ...

    The tonal shift then brings feelings of retaliation, in doing so war imagery is used as for the protagonist it has now become a war and no longer one way attacking towards her. "These knives that bristle in my flesh Increase my armoury and lessen yours."

  2. What is masculinity?

    Luckily, not all women cut their hair short and changed their sexual preference to spite the male population, but they did take some bite out of the male's bark. Fast-forward to modern day, and masculinity is holding on, albeit in a much reduced state.

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