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Revison notes on the key themes and comparisons in Seamus Heaney poems

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Key themes and comparative quotes for each poem Digging – identity, admiration, hardwork, childhood and memory Techniques used in digging 1. Enjambment - It is defined as a thought or clause that does not come to an end at a line break; instead, it moves over the next line. For example, “The cold smell of potato mould, the squelch and slap Of soggy peat, the curt cuts of an edge Through living roots awaken in my head.” 2. Imagery: Imagery is used to make readers perceive things involving their five 3. 4. senses. For example, “Between my finger and my thumb”, “The coarse boot nestled on the lug, the shaft” and “The cold smell of potato mould, the squelch and slap.” 5. Assonance: Assonance is the repetition of vowel sounds in the same line. For example, the sound of /e/ in “The squat pen rests; snug as a gun” and the sound of /ea/ in “Nicking and slicing neatly, heaving sods”. 6. Consonance: Consonance is the repetition of consonant sounds in the same line. For example, the sound of /l/ in “The cold smell of potato mould, the squelch and slap” and the sound of /ng/ in “Nicking and slicing neatly, heaving sods.” 7. Alliteration: Alliteration is the repetition of consonant sounds in the same line in quick successions. For example, the sound of /t/ in “He rooted out tall tops, buried the bright edge deep” and the sound of /c/ in “Of soggy peat, the curt cuts of an edge”. 8. Symbolism: Symbolism means to use symbols to signify ideas and qualities, giving them symbolic meanings that are different from the literal meanings. “Digging” symbolizes tradition. 9. Simile: It is a figure of speech in which an implied comparison is made between the objects that are different in nature using as or like. For example, “The squat pen rests; snug as a gun”. ...read more.


Through this is a reference back to the title and implies adults might view children's curiosity and inquisitiveness as something vain or ev ven selfish, as the character of Narcissus is viewed. MID TERM BREAK QUOTES AND ANAYLSIS About the death of heaneys infant brother and how Heaney and other people react to this. “I sat all morning in the college sick bay” – sense of islation and immediate suggestion of death. Stanza 2 2 in the porch I met my father crying he had always taken funerals in his stride” – sense the father is outwith the grief f the house, hiding his feelings. Death had been experienced before but not in this way. Foreshadows possible explanation fo who was the victim. “big jim evans saying it was a hard blow! – pun. Child was killed by a literal hard blow, while the family are metaphorically hurt “the baby cooed and laughed” – baby is inncent and oblivious to the events and grief which surround it. Could be considered lucky “ and tell me they were sorry for my troubles” – euphemism anger that no one actually can be as sorry as he is Use of punctuationa dn full stops in fifth stanza accentuate the finality of the words and how his brother is gone for good “next morning I went u pto his room - I saw him for the first time in six weeks. Paler now.” – sense of guilt. Realisation that things happen while your away/ Heaney has a memory of his brother prior to this “ a four foot box a foot for every year” – signifies the brieviety if childs life. Sadness. HAILSTONES KEY QUOTES AND ANAYLSIS Hailstones is a extended metaphor for painful memories. “my cheek was hit and hit” – hit is relentless. Plosive sounds enforce the sense of force of pain. “whipped and knowledgeable” – adjective whipped creates sensory imagery envisions the pain to the reader “those brats of showers” – colloquial term – young and annoying personified as a inconvenience plosive harsh and invasive. ...read more.


Of your brains exposed and darkened combs - Exposed' reminds us of the beginning when she's in the wind and vulnerable with a lack of free will. 'Darkened combs' refers to the combs of a brain - feels like we're entering her soul and mind with darkened suggesting doom and violation Connive in civilised outrage - Possible confession? with 'Connive' meaning to have secretly allowed something immoral to happen suggesting Heaney is implicit in the punishment due to him remaining mute 'Civilised outrage' oxymoron highlights the irony of the tribal cruelty in a time of supposed civilisation with no advancements STRANGE FRUIT KEY QUOTES AND ANAYLSIS Heaney wrote tis in response to one of the bog bodies. Highlighting the idea of the girls fate is ironic, to emphasie the point that our view of the past is wrng. Purpose is to see the individual lives lost in Ireland through religious conflict. Here is the girls head like an exhumed gourd - i mmediate similie makes us aware of H's focus on drawing parallels. Adjective exhumed implies she was dehydrated sucked out. Unsettling imagery. “girl” – vulnerability and youth. Analogy of head serves to show how dehumanised we have become to murder /violence made an exhibition of its coil - criticising human exhibitionism of death. Voyeuristic pleasure. let the air at her leathery beauty - accentues her exposure, and uncomfortable, discordant vision of her 'beauty' perishable treasure - paradox of beauty and preciousness contrasted with sense that she is withering to re-iterate the discordance of beautifying death murdered, forgotten, nameless, terrible beheaded girl - list of adjs heightens her namelessness but the violence conveyed within each word is palpable and amounting. Lack of identity. outstaring axe and beatification, outstaring what had begun to feel like reverence – beautufcation is from latin “blessed” religious concept- Catholicism tah tdied can enter heaven. Heaney challenged by the empty stare of the dead. ...read more.

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