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GCSE: Seamus Heaney

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  1. Compare and contrast Childhood by John Clare and Follower by Seamus Heaney

    There are different styles of tone, style and content. John Clare wrote his poem "Childhood" because he wanted to share his childhood with everyone. That is why there are so many references about his childhood. Seamus Heaney wrote "Follower" because he wanted to celebrate his father's skills and also to reflect on his relationship with his father. Both poems are early memories for the authors. "Childhood" is about John Clare's early memories; it has many references to things that he remembers when he was younger.

    • Word count: 1465
  2. What Are the Preoccupations of Heaney’s Poetry and How Does he Explore them Through Digging and An Advancement of Learning?

    Towards the end of his poem he realises that as times change and so must his family that he can no longer dig for potatoes because times have changed, "but I've no spade to follow men like them", instead he decides to "dig" with his poetry that he will dig into his family's and his own past with his poetry, "Between my finger and my thumb the squat pen rests I will dig with it. In An Advancement of Learning, Heaney tells us of his fear for rats and how they would terrorise him as a child behind the chicken

    • Word count: 1653
  3. “Many of Heaney’s poems deal with the Loss of Innocence and the Getting of Wisdom” :- Discuss\Illustrate

    regardless of his fear, indicating some excitement involved. An Advancement of Learning, shows a wiser Heaney deciding to confront his fear of rats, ("I used to panic.....scraped and fed" ). Finally as the rat retreated Heaney "walked on and crossed the bridge" symbolising him overcoming his fear. Poems with a theme of fear are absent until later on in the collection, where the issues get more serious. Honeymoon Flight shows a married Heaney, realising his vunerability and compulsory submissiveness whilst encountering engine difficulties on a flight.

    • Word count: 1455
  4. Write about three poems, which convey the atmosphere of a particular place. (Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening - Robert Frost, The Barn by Seamus Heaney, Composed Upon Westminster Bridge - Wordsworth)

    In this poem Wordsworth has written about London in the nineteenth century. He makes it clear that the sleeping city viewed in the early morning sunlight is as beautiful as that of a natural landscape. He tries to make it clear to us that nothing could compare to this scene and anyone who thinks otherwise is a dull person. At that time London was the centre of Europe, if not the world. In his poetry, he is a poet of primary and natural things. In lines nine and ten "Never did sun more beautifully steep in his first splendour, valley, rock or hill".

    • Word count: 1054
  5. The Barn and Mid-Term Break - Seamus Heaney

    This makes them look neat, also the shift in mood or tone is very little so the poems would have been either written as one big stanza or as lots of short one. Writing it in a long stanza makes it boring and makes it seem longer than it is but by spreading it out it is easier and more fun to read. Also some paragraphs flow into each other like " clogging up your lungs // and scuttled fast" One of the main differences is what the poem is describing, Mid-term Break is mainly describing feelings of other people but we know very little about the poet's own feelings.

    • Word count: 1094
  6. Compare how the strength of feeling is built up in both “ The Barn” and Midterm Break”

    People associate " the barn" with animals and farms, this does not link to any feelings. When the reader first reads the title it will intrigue him and he will want to read it to answer questions like, what happens in the barn? Who is in the barn? Before reading the poem the reader has no sense of what the poem could be about other than a barn. An obvious similarity is the structure and layout, both are written in three or four line stanzas very much like a nursery rhyme. Using such a layout has two reasons, first it means that young children could understand it, so it is a very appropriate form.

    • Word count: 1787
  7. A comparison of ‘An Advancement of Learning’ and ‘The Early Purges’ by Seamus Heaney

    In doing so he enters into adulthood and loses all the innocence he started with. The second of the Heaney poems being compared in this essay is 'The Early Purges'. 'The Early Purges' talks of a young lad who is brought up on a farm. The poem begins when the boy is six, which is the first face-to-face encounter he ever experienced with the death of animals. The poem then refers to a farm labourer, Dan Taggart who regards the useless kittens on the farm as 'scraggy wee shits'. The word 'shits' may be as a warning to the reader and may act as censorship so as to suggest to the reader that the poem

    • Word count: 1090
  8. Digging’ and ‘Early Purges’

    Just like his old man". He goes on to describe that his grandfather was the finest turf-cutter on 'Toner's bog'. His chosen option not to follow 'rural convention' created an entirely diverse world for Heaney. The fact that he went to a boarding school in a city (St. Columb's college) would be enough of a culture shock. There were no kittens being drowned, as described in 'Early Purges', here. That type of thing was seen as inhumane, but to him, a simple farmers son, it was seen as necessary.

    • Word count: 1504
  9. Background Material by Tony Harrison

    "Neither one a couple, and both bad." This tells me that these are individual photo's taken on shared occasions. This line suggests to me that the quality of the picture wasn't very good, and perhaps spoilt the photo's memories. I agree with your idea that their marriage wasn't all that was made out to be, and they weren't as happy as they would have liked to have been. This line gives me the impression that the two pictures hold bad memories for him, as well as good memories. Good memories as they're photo's of his parents, who I believe are both dead, but bad memories also as they were not together in the photo's.

    • Word count: 1020
  10. Discuss the emotions presented in at least three of Seamus Heaney’s poems including “Mid Term Break”.

    This sensuous image is so powerful the reader can almost taste the berry. The word "flesh" portrays how juicy and pulpy the fruit is. The berries were so nice they left Heaney with a, "lust for picking". This shows how Heaney had a desperate urge for picking. The word "lust" indicates how Heaney had a strong desire to pick and he found great joy out of doing so. This happiness and joy is also included in "Death of a Naturalist" where Heaney feels at peace with the natural world. At the start of the poem Heaney creates a very enjoyable and comfortable world with all of nature around him, "spotted butterflies", "bubbles gargled delicately".

    • Word count: 1606
  11. “Follower” and “Digging” By Seamus Heaney - What do we learn about Seamus Heaney’s attitude to his father in the two poems?

    In the poem "Follower" Seamus Heaney starts with the past tense. ("My father worked with a horse- plough.") In the quote above Heaney describes his father the way he used to work in the past. As the poem goes a king he finishes with a present. ("It is my father who keeps stumbling behind me, and will not go away.") Here as you can see he is describing his father in the present tense. Where as in the poem "Digging" Seamus Heaney starts with the present tense. ("Between my finger and my thumb, the squat pen rests")

    • Word count: 1018
  12. Seamus Heaney

    Where Seamus lived there were many wells as he describes in his poem 'Personal Helicon'. " As a child, they could not keep me from wells and old pumps with buckets and windlasses. I loved the dark drop, the trapped sky, the smells of waterweed, fungus and dank moss. One in a brickyard, with a rotted board top. I savored the rich crash when a bucket plummeted down at the end of the rope. So deep you saw no reflection in it.

    • Word count: 1155
  13. How do the poets present Childhood Experiences as being an influence on the journey into Adulthood?

    It is in the 1st person narrative with evidence of his life being shown before him. I noticed that in this poem there are some vivid quotes that I feel emphasise it's meaning. "Soft paws scraping like mad" Representing the 'soft' helplessness of the poor little pups, they 'scrape' in utter desperation for life as to exist beyond tomorrow. "Slung on the snout" To be 'slung' as if not worth anything, and on their 'snout' which alone is a very harsh, ugly word for their cute noses. I think that this is trying to portray them as being 'unwanted pests'.

    • Word count: 1597
  14. Looking at the poems in Death of a Naturalist discuss how Heaney use’s language and poetic technique to explore the themes of childhood and loss of innocence.

    One of the reasons why he is so widely know is because he makes the text come alive with his feelings, in spite of the fact that his techniques are quite complicated. He uses structural techniques to emphasise his point. For example, in "Blackberry Picking" there is a formal, mechanical structure, just like the annual ritual of going out to pick blackberries. In all of his poems he tries to convey his feelings about his experience and also how he was changed as a result of them. But it is not only his techniques, which his poems have in common.

    • Word count: 1713
  15. What do we learn from digging and follower about Seamus Heaney’s relationship with his father?

    heaney manages to convey the ploughing as physically demanding by explaining that the horses were strained and sweating and that his father was a team with them so he was working equally as hard, and his shoulders globed as though he is hunched over, getting the horses to move to all the exact points that he needs them to go to. 'Globed' particularly stands out to me as it helps me imagine that this was back breaking work for his father, he is sweating, aching, working hard to get his job done and yet there is his young son talking

    • Word count: 1007

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