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From Your Readings ofMid-Term Break, Diary of a Church Mouse and Prayer before Birth, what insights do you get about human behavior? What literary techniques are used to heighten the experience?

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From Your Readings of"Mid-Term Break, "Diary of a Church Mouse" and "Prayer before Birth", what insights do you get about human behavior? What literary techniques are used to heighten the experience? By Emmanuel Sunil In all three poems, the poets give as insight into the various aspects of human behavior. MacNeice in "Prayer before Birth" emphasizes the negative aspects in which a person will be treated through out their life and focuses in on how people will enslave you, manipulate you etc. In "Mid- Term Break", Seamus Heaney comments on the nature of human behavior in public domain and how one reveals their true feelings in private. John Betjeman makes a satirical observation that people come to church for reasons other than spiritual satisfaction in "Diary of a Church Mouse". Each poet also uses different literary techniques to heighten the experience. "Prayer before Birth" is unique in that the speaker in an unborn child that has an awareness of what is going to happen in his life. Through the fetus, MacNeice tells us about all the negative ways in which others will treat you in all walks of life. ...read more.


The details of this world are described in a powerful and graphic nature, with unpleasant imagery as the stanzas continue, each adding more and more unpleasant details and contrasts, "White waves call me to folly and the desert calls me to doom". Also, the stanzas become longer and more intense, until the final stanza of the poem which has an abrupt yet paradoxical ending which makes the message of the poem all the more shocking. There is a great deal of repetition which helps to emphasize the pathetic situation of the fetus and adds force to the message, and it becomes part of the meaning of the poem. Mid Term Break is about the reactions of the poet (when he was younger) about the death of his younger brother. Seamus Heaney through his personal experience tells us about how difficult it is to be in touch with ones feelings in public. When he comes home to find his father crying in the porch and old men shaking his hand to tell him that "they were sorry for my trouble," he feels "embarrassed" because they were treating him as though he was an adult; he couldn't express his true feelings of sorrow with many strangers about in the house. ...read more.


This brings about an odd similarity between the humans and rodents. However, it is ironic that the mouse says "within the human world I know, such goings on could not be so". But in fact Betjeman is making a satirical (because he compares mice as humans!) comment that humans only come to church when it suits them and when they get something out of it, in this case free food. Betjeman pokes fun at human behavior and their attitudes towards religion but this is delivered in a light hearted manner. Betjeman uses anthropomorphism and this makes the poem interesting and humorous. All three poems give us an insight into the various aspects of human behavior. In "Prayer before Birth", Louis MacNeice comments about the negative way in which people will treat you in all stages of life. In "Midterm Break", Seamus Heaney talks about how difficult it is to express ones feelings in public and in " Dairy of a Church Mouse", Betjeman explains that most people onl7y do things when they need to or when they need to be seen doing it. Thus all 3 poets have conveyed to us different insights into Human Behavior using a variety of literary techniques. ...read more.

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