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GCSE: Seamus Heaney

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  1. Poem: Strand At Lough Beg

    This shows how the light was now outside of where he was but it was still with him. Finally he drives up to Netownhamilton, passing some forests on the way and place where the only light that he is exposed to is the stars that are shining down at him from the sky. This now represents how the imminent safety that he had at the public gas station was now gone and he was isolated, in these hills only lit by stars. The safety in the light is now, far way: leaving him exposed to anything "outside". The image of the first few lines is of Colum now isolated, surrounded by silence, and open to the dangers they may be lurking.

    • Word count: 1947
  2. Comparing 'Storm on the Island' and 'Patrolling Barnegat'

    Whitman however, speaks as if he is in fact within the storm, almost participating. The reader becomes aware of this as Whitman poses questions "is that a wreck?" readers can then understand that the poet is experiencing the incident he is describing. Heaney and Whitman both associate the storm with military terms. The title 'Patrolling Barnegat' is self-explanatory; leading the reader to believe the poem is about a military exercise. This could be considered as a strange choice of title for a poem about such a wild, frantic experience - quite unlike a military operation.

    • Word count: 681
  3. In What Ways do the Poets Studied Write about Childhood Experiences?

    The other three poems are written as the child, but all differ slightly in their portrayal of the child. In "Discord in Childhood" the poet shows a disturbing scene which the child in question is taking in to every last detail. This shows a traumatised child going through a harrowing episode in his life of listening to a member of his family being abused and makes the reader aware of the situation that David would often find himself in as a child. The other poems portray the child as a happy, care-free character who just enjoys the delights of a rural life. "Death of a Naturalist" is written in the style of a child writing it at the time.

    • Word count: 1943
  4. Seamus Heaney: Digging

    Also it is suggesting that the pen is like a weapon for writing. Enjambment is used between the second and third stanza. He uses it to indicate the shift in time back into the past. It was clear that Heaney's father was skilled at his work - "stooping in rhythm through potato drills". Also the word "straining rump" indicates how old his father has become. He was also proud of his grandfather, "my grandfather cut more turf in a day than any other man on Toner's bog".

    • Word count: 642
  5. Poetry appreciation of 'Death of a naturalist' by Seamus Heaney

    He has done this so that we as the reader can recognise the difference of the fascination of a child and a simpler explanation of things from an adult. For example as the first stanza draws to a close we learn that by frogs we can tell the weather 'For they were yellow in the sun and brown/in rain.' This is the typical child learning something new in school, and then assuming they know it all. From that I get the image of the child telling its mother 'mum did you know...'

    • Word count: 1117
  6. Mid-Term Break and Digging

    The question why are his parents driving him home this increases the sense of foreboding. Also there is falling rhythm in this stanza. In the second stanza, the line begins, "In the porch I met my father crying", and this confirms to the reader that something is wrong, that something tragic has happened. The second line mentions that he takes `funerals` in his stride, so that says to me that he's attended quite a lot of funerals even though he's not that old. The final line, "And Big Jim Evans saying it was a hard blow", leads me to believe that Big Jim Evans is a close friend and also that he is quite large suggested by the adjective `Big` to describe him.

    • Word count: 2113
  7. Seamus Heaney

    There is also a hint that this picking is somehow violent - after the "blood" comes the claim that the collectors' hands were "sticky as Bluebeard's", this simile is a representation of a man whose hands were covered with the blood of his wives. This is an unmistakable connotation of aggressive excitement in the picking of the berries; an almost hidden undertone of the death of nature, thus an ending to his pleasure. This first half of the poem Heaney describes the picking - from the appearance of the fruit to the frenzy of activity as more fruit ripens.

    • Word count: 1763
  8. Discusssome of the ways in which Seamus Heaney makes use of the past in his poetry

    The colloquial term, 'By God, the old man could handle a spade' shows Seamus Heaney's pride of his Grandfather. "Irishmen are justifiably well known for digging, but Heaney shows the skill and dignity in their labour". By giving examples of his Father digging for food 'potato drills' and his Grandfather digging for fuel 'cut more turf' indicates how it is traditional in his family to dig as a profession, and how Heaney broke that tradition. 'The squat pen rests. I'll dig with it', shows metaphorically that Heaney will 'dig' for words in his poetry, rather than for turf or potatoes.

    • Word count: 1666
  9. An analysis of "Follower" by Seamus Heaney

    However, by the end of the poem it is his father who needs help from his son. The first three stanzas of the poem are written in the third person with all words relating to his father as 'he' or 'his'. But there is a change in the fourth stanza and from then on until the end of the poem, it is written in the first person with only one reference in the whole of the last two verses to his father as 'him'. The tone of the poem is quite reminiscent and it is obvious that the poet when he was young was in awe of his father.

    • Word count: 741
  10. Explain his aim in each poem and how he achieves it?

    'But I've no spade to follow men like them.' While writing we hear his father's spade which makes him think of the past. He thinks of how skilled his father was and how he did it for a living, planting potatoes. However in 'Death of a Naturalist' Heaney is thinking about his childhood past; collecting frogspawn from the 'flaxdam' and how he had been fascinated in watching them develop from tadpoles to frogs. He relishes these child-like activities in the first stanza but in the second, there is a sense of time passing; a loss of innocence, when he feels the toads want to seek revenge on him.

    • Word count: 815
  11. Digging by Seamus Heaney, Catrin by Gillian Clarke, Little Boy Lost, Little Boy Found by William Blake and On My First Son by Ben Jonson.

    "From the hearts pool that old rope, tightening about my life" (lines 25-26 catrin) The emotional love shall never be broken despite there being no apparent love. The other quote being lines "Our first confrontation, the tight red rope of love which we both fought over." (Lines 7-9 catrin) The umbilical cord holding the two together. Little Boy Lost Little Boy Found, this poem has love within the family and the desperation of a father to find his son again, eventually he does and he is metaphorically spoken of as god. "But god ever nigh appeared like his father in white."

    • Word count: 1037
  12. "Explainthe causes of long-term hunger and evaluate the strategiesadopted to cope with food shortages"

    Long term hunger is also is caused by malnutrition which is a serious health destruction that results from inadequate nutrient intake. Malnutrition may result from a lack of food, a chronic shortage of key nutrients, or impaired absorption and metabolism associated with chronic conditions or diseases Sudan has various cases that link to malnutrition, and it was described as the "world's greatest humanitarian crisis", It is not the case that countries with famines are necessarily short of valuable resources.

    • Word count: 356
  13. Gifts of Rain

    The first section of the poem has no direction and the rhythm is irregular. This suggests that the rain may come unexpectedly and starts off somewhat jaggedly. The rest of the poem flows and has rhythm and there is regularity in each section. This mimics the movement as the rain as it comes down from the clouds. The running on in the stanzas give the sense that the rain is overflowing. Although the title of the poem gives a positive feeling, the opening line "Cloudburst and steady downpour now for days" gives the effect of a monotonous image and a depressing persistance.

    • Word count: 815
  14. Compare thepoems 'Out, Out' by Robert Frost and 'Mid Term Break' by Seamus Heaney

    This seems to be the theme that both poems focus on, the pointlessness of the deaths suffered. Both of the deaths in the poems were at the hand of machine. In 'Out, Out' it was the 'buzz saw' and in 'Mid Term Break', 'the bumper knocked him clear' suggests he was killed by a car or some kind of vehicle. This could suggest how man made machines are becoming more widely used and men may soon become expendable. Throughout 'Out, Out' the 'buzz saw' is personified to sound like an angry, hungry animal. The poem seems to be loosely based around the boy's connection with this saw and it is crucial to the poem.

    • Word count: 1145
  15. Compare the way Nature is presentedin two pre-1914 and two post 1914 poems

    He relates how weak and defenseless we humans are compared to these natural happenings. The way in which we are forced to shelter and protect ourselves from this 'nothing' which has the power and might to change everything in our lives. The unmistakable sense of people's fear of nature's fury is shown throughout the poem. Human and Nature seem to be at war with each other- nature versus man- with Nature the dominant adversary but humans still grimly hanging on. The two sides almost appear to be at a 'stalemate'. For try as it might, the storm has not beaten man- and man can only find means to protect himself- being too weak to retaliate.

    • Word count: 2522
  16. Compare and contrast 'Death of a Naturalist' and 'Digging' by Seamus Heaney.

    There he joined a poetry workshop along with such writers as Derek Machon and Michael Longly. In 1965 Seamus published a total of eleven poems and married Marie Deulin. He fathered two sons named Michael and Christopher. 'Death of Naturalist' and 'Digging' both give the impression of looking back in time to his childhood; they are both, to a certain extent, autobiographical in the way they are written, both poems reminisce on the poet's childhood in a reflective way. 'Death of Naturalist' is about a young boy, his love for nature and how he relishes every aspect of the countryside.

    • Word count: 1977
  17. How does Heaney use language to explore the experience of childhood in the 'Early Purges' and 'An Advancement of Learning'?

    'Kittens drown', this makes he whole ordeal a lot more traumatizing and cruel because kittens are baby animals so there is more effect. From the poem we get the impression Dan Taggert does the young Heaney no favors because he doesn't care about anything, he is drowning kittens swearing in front of a six year old child, 'scraggy wee shits' shows he really doesn't care. 'Out on a dunghill he put the dead glossy kittens' showing again his lack of care for anything.

    • Word count: 870
  18. Comparison of 'We are Seven' by William Wordsworth and 'Mid-Term Break' by Seamus Heaney.

    Heaney has also worked as a professor of Poetry at Oxford University and has also won the Nobel Prize for literature. The poem Mid-Term Break is about memories of death from a child's point of view and the difficulty with other people's emotions. From my research I have found out that the poem is based upon a real event in Heaney's life and what he can remember from his own childhood. The difficulties he faced included coping with his own mother's anger - anger not with her son but with God for letting her child die.

    • Word count: 726
  19. Explore Seamus Heaney's portrayal of pain and suffering.

    " A four foot box, a foot for every year", indicates that the diceased was only an infant! This was the last line in the poem and an obvious clue to whom Heaney was referring. I think Heaney at the time was confused about the situation and he talks of how people like "Big Jim Evans" commented on the incident in which his brother was killed. "It was a hard blow" is a reassuring fact, implied in effect that the brother could not have helped himself any better than anyone else could have in the same situation. Heaney mentions a baby.

    • Word count: 1478
  20. The three poems I will be looking at in this essay are ''My Papa's Waltz'' ''Our Father'' and ''The Early Purges''.

    but this only seems to happen when the father is drunk because the poem opens up with the observation that ''the whiskey on your breath could make a small boy dizzy'' The father might possibly be a very violent man we see this when it says which tell us that the dad likes a fight or two the poet recalls how ''the hand which held my wrist was battered on one knuckle'' and ''at every step you missed my right ear scraped a buckle''.

    • Word count: 1203
  21. Explore the ways that youth is lost in 'Death of a Naturalist', 'ColdKnapLake ', 'On My First Sonne' and 'The Song of the Old Mother' through the poets' portrayal of children.

    In 'On My First Sonne', Ben Jonson writes about the loss of his seven year old son as a victim of the great plague. And finally in 'The Song of the Old Mother', W.B Yeats tells of a mother's routine. In 'Death of a Naturalist', Heaney writes about his childhood, and the changes that he went through in puberty - the changes that he undertook to transform from boy, to adolescent and finally to a man. It is also about the loss of innocence associated with childhood, and the lack of responsibility that a young boy possesses.

    • Word count: 1141
  22. Compare the way the relationships between members of different generations are presented in the 'Follower', 'Baby-Sitting' and 'On My First Sonne' and 'The Affliction of Margaret'.

    is portrayed as weak and young (typical view of a child) and he often falls down. The boy is compared to the father - the boy is said to be clumsy, whilst the father is masterful - these are contrasting images. The boy also follows in his fathers 'hob-nailed wake' which means literally he is following in his fathers larger foot prints, and metaphorically means the boy wants to follow in his fathers footsteps. The term 'wake' is comparing the plough to a ship and so does 'sail' as the wake is the water ploughed up by the ships motion - and this is similar to the furrowed earth ploughed by the plough.

    • Word count: 1111
  23. In this essay I am going to concentrate on three poems ''An old man's winter night'', ''Follower'' and ''Lore''.

    He had writing experiences earlier in his life; he was a teacher and a newspaper reporter. It was this experience that had a part to play in getting him In to Harvard From 1897-1899 but within a period of 2 years in Harvard he left with out a degree. Frost died in Boston on January 29th, 1963 at the age of 89 but he succeeded in realizing his life ambition: to write ''a few poems it will be hard to get rid of''.

    • Word count: 1245
  24. Compare the way the poets present the ideas of DEATH or LOSS in 'Mid-Term Break', 'On The Train', 'On My First Sonne' and 'The Affliction of Margaret'.

    In Mid-Term Break, Heaney writes about the death of his younger brother. It is a realistic poem as it represents a true event that has actually happened in Heaney's life. The title 'Mid-Term Break' suggests a period of absentness from school, and it is, because of the death of his younger brother. He has to wait in the College Sick Bay, where he is later picked up by his neighbours; and he is unaware of the death, all he knows is that there has been an accident. Heaney immediately creates a sombre tone: 'Counting bells knelling classes to a close'.

    • Word count: 1622
  25. Poetry and Children.

    some give us a happy view of childhood while others present a much grimmer look. The first poem was written by R.S Thomas and is named Children's Song. This is a superb piece of writing done in block verse which suits this poem perfectly because it is as if is squeezed into a small area like a child's world which adults are too big to get into. The subject is presented from the child's eyes and in the first five lines the language is quite childish and easy to understand. All of sudden the poet changes this by using two or three words to help you get into an adult frame of mind although the child is still the person speaking.

    • Word count: 1405

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