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GCSE: Seamus Heaney

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  • Marked by Teachers essays 5
  • Peer Reviewed essays 17
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  1. Marked by a teacher

    Mid-Term Break: Critical Essay. Heaney reveals his true feelings to us in the poem and makes it real to us by using various techniques. How Heaney achieves this will be the subject of this essay.

    3 star(s)

    Our next clue is that Heaney says that the bells are "knelling" rather than ringing. "Knelling" means the ringing of funeral-like bells, not the ringing of school bells. These clues suggest that someone has died. He emphasizes the effect of these clues by using alliteration. The third clue is that he says he met his "father crying" on the porch. Heaney goes on saying how his father always took "funerals in his stride", which shows that someone has died who is close to his family.

    • Word count: 931
  2. Marked by a teacher

    Commentary on Seamus Heaney's "Scaffolding".

    3 star(s)

    "When they start upon a building / Are careful to test out the scaffolding" depicts the two person's first try to build a friendship. The word "careful" and "test" shows the uneasiness of getting to know a person well at the beginning of the meet due to human's cautious nature. The process towards relationship building is instilled in the next two stanzas.

    • Word count: 502
  3. Peer reviewed

    Follower by Seamus Heaney

    5 star(s)

    This is made clear by the poet's careful choice of words. 'His eye narrowed and angled at the ground, mapping the furrows exactly.' These words effectively suggest his father's skill and precision. We are also told that young Heaney 'stumbled in his hob-nailed wake,' which brings to our mind a picture of the ploughman's heavy boots, the carefully ploughed furrow and the child's clumsy enthusiasm. The poet uses onomatopoeic words to capture the details of his father as he works the plough.

    • Word count: 857
  4. Peer reviewed

    Compare 'Digging' and 'Follower' by Seamus Heany

    4 star(s)

    Therefore, this suggests that the idea of 'digging' represents Heaney digging though his past and him digging into the English language to say and express what he wants to say, as words are now his tool. Heaney uses change in tense in 'Follower' to indicate his change in views and ideas. When he remembers about his father and grandfather at work he goes into the past tense but the last two stanzas return to the present. This suggests that his life on the farm as a child is in his past and he has a new life.

    • Word count: 762
  5. Peer reviewed

    Death Of A Naturalist comment on how appropriate the title, "Death of a Naturalist", is and comment on how it changes meaning.

    4 star(s)

    It's something he does every year and watches the "jellied-specks" become "fattening dots" then turn into tadpoles. He almost has a scientific interest in knowing the proper names ("bullfrog" and "frogspawn") rather than the teachers patronising talk of "daddy" and "mammy". Especially the idea of forecasting the weather by looking at the frogspawn because it's not very helpful as it is blatantly obvious if it is sunny or raining and so there is no need to look at the frogspawn. Seamus Heaney uses onomatopoeia more lavish here than in any poem - and many of the sound are very in delicate: "gargled", "slap and plop" and "farting".

    • Word count: 533
  6. Peer reviewed

    Death of a naturalist

    4 star(s)

    The child's natural speaking voice comes across in line 8; "But best of all". The vividness of his description is achieved through Heaney's use of images loaded with words that lengthen the vowels and have a certain weightiness in their consonants; "green and heavy-headed Flax had rotted there, weighted down by huge sods." The sound of the insects which, "Wove a strong gauze of sound around the smell" is conveyed by the 's' and 'z' sounds but also, importantly, acts like a bandage preventing the spread of decay.

    • Word count: 871
  7. Peer reviewed

    Sunil Mirpuri

    4 star(s)

    Heaney gives this fossil life through his diction by describing the state she was in when they dug her up. Heaney starts the poem using words like "tug," "halter," "nape," "neck," and "naked" in order to immediately establish a dark and gruesome yet depressing tone. Heaney's desire is to make the reader feel an emotion of sympathy towards the York Girl. He uses very penetrating adjectives such as "amber beads" and "frail rigging" to quickly establish this sympathetic tone. As the poem moves on, the reader notices the narrator's change in attitude and feeling towards the York Girl as he begins to describe her in an admiring manner.

    • Word count: 944
  8. Peer reviewed

    The poem 'My First Sonne'was written by Ben Jonson. 'The poem is a first hand experience from the father, which his one and only son died. In the poem 'Mid-Term Back' written by Seamus Heaney, the author focuses

    4 star(s)

    The 'poppy' is an image of young life lost. It's a strong metaphor as the poppy is a mark of respect for those who died in the war, unusual death of a young child. The 'poppy' is classed as a wild random growing flower, so it suggests that the death was a shock. The poem shows a clear sign of sadness, 'My father's crying'. Its hard for the older brother to cope with seeing his father cry because his finding the death hard to cope with. The family support and comforts each other.

    • Word count: 797
  9. Peer reviewed

    How Do You Respond To Mid-Term Break? What techniques does Heaney use? Having read the title 'Mid-Term Break', I assumed that the poem

    4 star(s)

    The first stanza is telling us that the boy is away from home, isolated, upset and waiting. It is made up of short sentences to build up tension and create shock as though the reader is expecting something to happen. One phrase that struck me was 'our neighbors drove me home'. This suggested to me that something had happened as usually a student's parents take them to and from school. We then find out that the father, apparently always strong at other funerals, is distraught, while the mother is too angry to cry.

    • Word count: 748
  10. Peer reviewed

    How does Heaney explore the issues of background and identity in his early poems, Digging and Follower?

    4 star(s)

    Between my finger and my thumb The squat pen rests; snug as a gun. Digging presents a good example of a parallel between the tactile and metaphorical. The first two-line stanza 'earths' the poem to the poet - using direct, simple, striking language. "Gun" particularly draws the reader's attention; it is aggressive and monosyllabic. Heaney remembers the way his father, a farmer, dug for potatoes - using description appealing heavily to the senses. Although this particular memory can be seen as simple, or trivial, it is through these every-day activities that the roots of the present grow into - the past 'earth' that is made up by seemingly dull daily chores.

    • Word count: 789
  11. Peer reviewed

    How does Seamus Heaney present his childhood in the poems "Follower" and "Mid-Term Break".

    4 star(s)

    The title "Mid-Term Break" is very ironic. The reader is at once tricked into believing that the poem will be about Heaney's happy memories from his school holidays. This is not so as the poem is actually about how Heaney is going home to the funeral of his brother: A quite sad and dramatic event in his childhood. "Follower" and "Mid-Term Break" are both about Heaney and his relationship with his family. The poem "Follower" describes his relationship with his father.

    • Word count: 741
  12. Peer reviewed

    Consider how Seanus Heany provides us with a view of his childhood in the following poems: Digging, Death of a Naturalist follower, blackberry picking, The barn and mid term break

    4 star(s)

    His first poem in the Death of a Naturalist is very important. The purpose of it is to symbolise and introduce his circumstances. 'Between my finger and thumb the squat pen rests'. Look at this first sentence. It is telling you he is a writer. He is telling you that the pen rests. This means that he is comfortable with it. In a way he is saying that the pen belongs in his hand. Then he goes on to write 'snug as a gun'. A gun is a weapon. Something used for destruction which poetry is not. But, If you look closer you can see that maybe the pen has destroyed something.

    • Word count: 935
  13. Peer reviewed

    Follower and Digging by Seamus Heaney

    3 star(s)

    Heaney is a little boy in the poem and he looks up to his father in the physical way because his father is tall and strong but he is small and short. "I stumbled in his hob-nailed wake, Fell sometimes on the polished sod"; it brings up the picture of the ploughman's boots and the clumsiness of little Heaney while sometimes his father gives him rides on the back because he could not stand Heaney's awkwardness. Heaney also wants to be exactly like his father and become stronger when he grows up.

    • Word count: 603
  14. Peer reviewed

    The three poems 'On My First Sonne', 'Mid-Term Break' and 'Refugee Mother and Child' all explore the same theme, which are the emotions of love and loss. This conveys a sense of radical grief to the reader.

    3 star(s)

    In the very start of the poem a sense of sorrow is conveyed and some conclusions can be taken. For instance the boy that is in the boarding school is feeling lonely. The mood of the poem can definitely be found in the second line "Counting bells knelling classes to a close". This shows us how unhappy the boy is in the boarding school and it shows us what direction the play is taking, which is a gloomy one. Heaney uses as linguistic devices alliteration and assonance throughout the poem to emphasize the sound of the bells in the funeral and to make the feeling of time passing.

    • Word count: 609
  15. Peer reviewed

    Mid-Term Break By Seamus Heaney

    3 star(s)

    He also talks about, "bells knelling", which in itself sums up most of the poem. As well at this he talks about the time and in many peoples minds constantly looking at a clock may be a sign of boredom and impatience. In the next stanza, stanza two, the mood id that of a very serious nature the writer expresses this by using dashes, " in the porch I met my father crying-..." I think he does this to create a solemn pause and also to show how hard it was for him to come to terms with what had happen in the recent time that he was away.

    • Word count: 863
  16. Mid-Term Break - Adaption from poem to story

    me what had happened, I started to cry when she was talking, I wanted to drown out her voice and pretend none of this was happening, but I couldn't no matter how hard I tried, my four year old brother was dead, he got knocked over by a car and there was nothing I could do about it. My innocent little brother, the one who loves to play with me and tell me silly jokes, he will never get to live a full life.

    • Word count: 666
  17. Mid Term Break Critical Essay

    By "sitting all morning" Heaney shows us that he was waiting patiently. Someone who would be "counting bells" whilst they wait put across the idea that they are waiting without complaining. This shows that the news of his little brother's death hasn't hit Heaney yet, which may be expected so early in the poem. Heaney is taken home by his neighbours at "two o'clock." His unremitting measure of time throughout the poem shows that he wishes for time to go faster. When Heaney arrives home he is greeted by family, friends and neighbours.

    • Word count: 947
  18. The Early Purges

    Heaney used many literary techniques to get the feelings and thoughts across effectively, this essay will look at how, and why he did this. The main theme of the poem is all about how we change when we grow up. The poet shows this by showing a direct contrast between the first and last line: "I was six when I first saw kittens drown" and the last line; "On well run farms pests have to be kept down." In the first line of the poem, the poem recalls a particular incident; " I was six when I first saw kittens drown."

    • Word count: 596
  19. Follower and Digging

    The poem 'Digging' was written by Seamus in 1964 and was one of the first poems he wrote. This poem is about a man looking down on his father digging in the garden both now and in the past. He reminisces about moments in the past of both his father and grandfather digging potatoes. When the poem 'Digging' begins Heaney is not doing anything. It seems as if he is waiting for inspiration. In the second line, there is a strange simile; "The squat pen rests; snug as a gun". This is strange because "snug" is a comfortable word which suggests he is comfortable with his writing, but gun is a powerful and dangerous.

    • Word count: 718
  20. Discuss the presentation of place in the two Seamus Heaney poems named Broagh and The Other Side

    In The Other Side, Dinnshenchas isn't used. In its place, a more typical, deep description of the place. The place itself isn't actually named, but its apparent it's farmland, with describing the land as acres(acres in reference to how much land they farm) and the reference to their being a divider(stream) between theirs and their neighbours. This is where I shall make my first parallel between the two poems. Through the description use din both, it is apparent that the land isn't of very good quality, in Broagh moreso, but perhaps more importantly in The Other Side since that is farmland, providing money for the whole of the family.

    • Word count: 963
  21. With reference to at least two of Seamus Heaney's poems and his prose, examine the poet's fascination with childhood and with language.

    In 'Death of a Naturalist', he not only has a physical confrontation with the frogs but an emotional one too: an acquisition of fear which is typical of childhood. The tone of the second section of the poem clearly conveys this emotion where he uses onomatopoeic words such as "slap and plop" and he describes the frogs as "The great slime kings.../gathered there for vengeance". Any objective view certainly would not have used phrases like these, so it must be assumed that some personal emotion is involved and in this case, it is guilt.

    • Word count: 811
  22. Mini comentrries

    Heaney uses the metaphor of "holding the pass" to show how the perch remain unmoved. The readers see the fish from the human perspective, looking down into the clear river, but also from the perch's perspective - "under the water-roof". Heaney also uses a lot of sound effects such as monosyllabic words and for groups of words with the same vowel: "grunts...slubs...runty". Death of a Naturalist In the poem "Death of a Naturalist", Heaney explains a change in his attitude to the natural world with two parts separating before and after.

    • Word count: 913
  23. Bye, Child by Seamus Heaney

    The emotional drive and the message are fundamentally revealed through the structure of the poem. It is structured as a free verse poem and the first verse sets the scene of the poem. Heaney creates a generous fa�ade in the first verse where the 'little henhouse boy' is comforted by the 'yolk of light' as he "[puts] his eye to the chink." However Heaney disparages this soothing fa�ade in the verses to come. He portrays a sense of depression and isolation as they boy is described as "frail" and "weightless". The boy's surroundings are described as unhealthy and animal like.

    • Word count: 814
  24. English essay

    The poem ' do not go gentle' describes a person asking their father not to give up and fight against death. This is shown in the quote 'Do not go gentle' The quote is saying to fight against death and not to give up against death gently. Mid term break is structured with seven stanzas and a one line irregular stanza. There is also no rhyme scheme apart from a rhyming couplet at the end. Do not go gentle is structured in a strict villanelle format with an ABAABAABAACAACACAA rhyme scheme written in turcets with the exception of the last stanza which is 4 lines with the last two lines as a rhyming couplet.

    • Word count: 784
  25. Compare the different memories o f childhood presented in "Mid Term Break" and "In Mrs Tilschers Class"

    The tone and mood is light hearted and happy. She has 4 stanzas with 8 lines in each. Heaney use 'I' which makes the reader identify with Heaney. He has set his poem in many places his college sick bay, home, his bedroom and in the morning and the morning after. The tone and mood is sad and tragic. He uses 7 stanzas with 3 lines in each but the last stanza has only one line which is powerful and grabbing to the reader. "In Mrs Tilschers Class" she describes the change that takes place between childhood and adolescence.

    • Word count: 957

Conclusion analysis

Good conclusions usually refer back to the question or title and address it directly - for example by using key words from the title.
How well do you think these conclusions address the title or question? Answering these questions should help you find out.

  1. Do they use key words from the title or question?
  2. Do they answer the question directly?
  3. Can you work out the question or title just by reading the conclusion?
  • Compare the different memories o f childhood presented in "Mid Term Break" and "In Mrs Tilschers Class"

    "In conclusion both of these poems deal with childhood memories. Heaney's' poem is more sad and we learn it effects him emotionally. Duffy's poem is an experience I think we all go through and we can deal with. I prefer 'Mid Term Break' as it affected me more emotionally as I can not sympathise with him. I think the poem is written really well as he builds up the tension that he felt. Jade schofield"

  • Compare and Contrast 'Death of a Naturalist', ' An Advancement of Learning' and ' The Early Purges'

    "In conclusion, the main similarities between the three poems are in the language used. By this I mean that of particular phrases such as war words and the usage of similes and alliteration and the fact that they are all about animals and fear. The main differences are that "The Early Purges" is a different structure to the other two poems. I have learnt about parts of Seamus Heaney's childhood and his coping with fear. I have also learnt different techniques to use in poems, for example alliteration. I have enjoyed the excitement Heaney builds up in each poem. My favourite poem is "An Advancement of Learning" because I can understand and picture everything Heaney describes. Also it is my most preferred poem due to the fact I can relate to confronting a fear and not having a path to turn to and then the fear swam away from me, so I can relate to the story."

  • Compare one poem by Seamus Heaney and one poem by Gillian Clarke to show how they use imagery to create effects.

    "CONCLUSION Both the poems, Mali and Blackberry Picking convey a strong message and meaning to the poem. The poem Mali is about a child's 3rd birthday, so naturally it is going to be a special occasion for her. I think Mali was written because it was such a special day for Gillian and it meant so much to her. In my opinion, I think Mali is a very effective poem. The many feelings and emotions conveyed in the poem, along with the poetic devices, especially imagery, make it a very interesting poem to read. The poem Blackberry Picking is about a past experience that Seamus had of blackberry picking. I think he wrote this because he feels that the memories of blackberry picking were very special to him and he wants to remember them. I think blackberry picking is also a very effective poem. The details of the blackberry picking are very well explained by his especially good use of vivid imagery and the other poetic devices in the poem. Edward Jones"

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