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the early purges

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THE EARLY PURGES The poem "The Early Purges" by Seamus Heaney is about animals which are put to death because they were needless in the human life. The title tells us that something was cleared out young in its life. The word purges means 'getting rid of' and early means that the animals were young. The writer tells us in the poem of how he saw the kittens drowned and how he thought it cruel, but he then grows up and tells us that it may seem cruel, but that was what life was like on the farm. He shows that he was young by starting of with "I was six when I first saw kittens drown". This would be very shocking to someone as young. In the second sentence he says "the scraggy wee shits". There is some harsh language used here and also, it shows that Dan Taggart could be Irish and so was Seamus Heaney. It says "pitched them", and this tells us that Dan Taggart was none too gentle with the kittens and that he had seen it happening to the animals, too many times to feel sorry for them. ...read more.


The sixth verse is quite harsh and now he wasn't shocked of the purging because he says "Still, living displaces false sentiments, and now, when shrill pups are prodded down to drown, I just shrug, 'bloody pups', it makes sense". This clearly shows that he has changed hi opinion of what he had seen in his childhood. He now understands why the animals were killed on the farms and now doesn't care if he kills them himself. From the sentence above again shows that he knows why they are killed. The last verse shows the proper meaning of the poem. This stanza tells us that he sees animals give birth and die. Dead or dying animals are natural. If they don't have a purpose in life on the farm then they have no purpose ling. In towns, the deliberate death of animals isn't common or natural, so if they find it hard they must realise that everyone dies then decomposes. From the poem cat, the background is of a man that impersonates a cat and describes how he sneaks out of the house to his greenhouse. ...read more.


It says in the poem that the writer is "sometimes an unseen marmalade cat", and this gives us a picture of a special and unique colour cat. In 'early purges', they use a simile, like "wet gloves" and this gives us a picture of something that is waterlogged and these things make the poems realistic or let us imagine what is actually happening. The stanza of 'Cat' is written into no visible form of verses or anything because the poem is actually 1 continuous journey about a cat on the way to the greenhouse. The viewpoint of 'Cat' is of a writer called Alan Brownjohn, who describes himself by using personification to show how he sneaks of to the greenhouse and goes to sniff the flowers. This poem is a gentle and flowing poem and is quite positive. 'The early Purges' is by the writer Seamus Heaney. He uses the poem to tell us that animals grown on the farm would have to be killed to save time and energy as well as money. The kittens were like pests and they had no purpose on the farm so they had to be killed. This poem is quite harsh but that's just the way life is. ...read more.

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Related GCSE Seamus Heaney essays

  1. The Early Purges

    There are some striking details throughout the poem. The title 'The Early Purges' is a country expression for emptying one's bowels, in the poem this idea is developed in the reference to dung. At the end of the first stanza there is a suggestion of the sound of drowning in 'frail metal'.

  2. The Early Purges.

    Dan Taggart is a very aggressive person. Seamus skilfully tells us what sort of character Dan is going to be. He very carefully picks the name "Dan Taggart" because of the fact that it has plosive sounds which perfectly coincides with what actions he carries out later in the poem.

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