The Early Purges By Seamus Heaney
In my opinion the poem focuses on the traumas of childhood, and how impressionable we are when we are young. Just like the poem ‘Nothing’s Changed’ I think this poem could be classed as an autobiographical poem expressing his emotions and telling a story of his life through this. The poem has a sad atmosphere: it is about a child who sees kittens drowning, along with many other animals being killed in various aggressive methods on a farm. At the time the child is terrified, “suddenly frightened, for days I sadly hung” but by the end of the poem the fully-grown child is doing all the deeds he was scared of when he was younger, “ I just shrug, 'Bloody pups'.” Heaney used many literary techniques to get the feelings and thoughts across effectively, this essay will look at how, and why he did this.
This is a preview of the whole essay
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.” By saying the ‘first’ time Heaney, as a boy witnessed the farmhand killing kittens gives me the impression that after this incident it happened many times and over time he has become used to it. Already, this has given an impact on the poem, making the reader think about the cruelty of making a six-year-old watch kittens drown.
The poet gives me the impression that Dan Taggart Is this horrible man who doesn’t feel or show any sign of guilt towards drowning kittens, “scraggy wee shits.” This is effective because Dan Taggart justifies his actions by suggesting that kittens have no value. Also, at the end of the poem we see that the grown up child or maybe the adult Heaney does the same, even having the swearing comparisen, “Bloody pups”. Also, I think he doesn’t care about the kittens because the poet uses language like ‘pitched’ which is telling me Dan doesn’t just place them in a bucket but throws them in there with force or agression.
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’. This is effective as it gives the reader more information to absorb to make a clearer picture.
Within the second stanza, the poet tries to make the reader have a feeling of sorrow towards the kittens, quote “Soft paws scrapping like mad” and “but their tiny din was soon soused” By using words such as ‘soft’ and ‘tiny’ gives me the impression that the kittens are so small and so helpless and weak. Also the poet places a full stop before a ‘but’. By doing this it has made more of a dramatic impact because normally the ‘but’ combines to phrases into one sentence, but where there is a full stop it is warning the reader that there is probably going to be something negative following. Again by saying ‘tiny din’ it gives a sound affect to try and help the reader picture it better.