Comparing the poems ‘My First Sonne’ and ‘Mi-Term Back’
In this essay I am going to compare ‘My First Sonne’ and ‘Mid-Term Back’. 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 on his younger brother’s death in a tragic car accident. Both poems relate to the parent relationships to children and the death of a family member.
Heaney’s image of ‘Polly bruise’ is suggestive of respect for the death of the young child. The older brother sounds confused ‘The bumper knocked him clear’, this suggests that the child doesn’t understand why he died as he only had one bruise. 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. ‘As my mother held my hand’, this implies that their feel they’ll all get through it together and care about the remaining members of the family but will never forget the accident and the younger son. The poem doesn’t show much emotion of the older son, ‘I was embarrassed’, this my suggest he cant cope with telling anyone his emotions because his parents cant cope and his trying to keep the family together. In the poem it reminds the reader of the age of the child who died. ‘He lay in the four foot box as in his cot, this is hard to picture and a upsetting feeling.
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Whereas in ‘On My First Sonne’ the author communicates the image of the poem as the son was the best thing that ever happened to him. ‘Ben Jonson his best piece of poetrie’. The father thinks the son is lent by god, which makes him think positively because he has been given back to god and can heal in heaven, which is meant by peace. The son was lent by god as a present and the father thought he made the most of it because in the poem it says ‘As what he loves may never like too much’. He talks wisely about his son and couldn’t feel more for him. The father’s grief is clear, ‘O could I loose all father now’. This is suggestive that the father has clear grief as he feels his lost his on and his parental responsibility. He doesn’t feel as tight and together because his lost the best part of his life. As well as the feeling of grief he feels envy, his son is painless and in heaven. His son is bonded with god, who he was lent by and returned to.
Both poems have some reference to emotions and grief, of the upsetting events of death. In ‘My First Sonne’ it suggests they believe in spirits and recantation. In ‘Mid-Term Break’, there is a reference to a religious background. ‘Candles soothed the bedside’, they are known as healing and imply that he has a religious background because the older brother goes to boarding school. The structure in ‘On My First Sonne’ is unusual ………..
The poems are both similar in a way because it writes in epigraph. I think ‘Mid-Term Back’ is more emotion in a way because more people are grieving over the young child. In ‘On My First Sonne’ the father makes his emotions powerful, by the form of grief and envy. The poet makes you feel sorry for the deaths because there young life. The poems talk about new life forms. In ‘Mid-Term Break’ new life is noticed through the Snowdrops changing seasons and gaining a new life in heaven. The son can stay painless in heaven and safe from the world by god. The father in ‘My First Sonne’ feels the same with gaining new life in heaven spirits being taken to god, as the gift of the son is being returned.
I prefer the poem ‘Mid-Term Break’ this is because there is more emotion and relates to the image of the young son. The poppy was a strong image of respect for the dead. On the other hand I liked the poem ‘My First Sonne’ as well because it had a lot of meaning, emotion, connects with the spirits and joining with god.
Here's what a star student thought of this essay
Quality of writing
The Quality of Written Communication is fine. There could be a better use of more complex punctuation point as this and more challenging vocabulary (so long as all is spelt accurately) give the examiner a clear indication that the candidate responsible is enthusiastic and confident in their analytical skills.
Level of analysis
The Level of Analysis is very good, though not perfect. Where the candidate excels in in their use of the PEE (Point, Evidence & Explanation) formula to create their analysis. Lesser ability candidate might conform to this style of writing and produce a very systematic response but this candidate has also take time to consider the social and historical factors that influenced the poet's writing. Though that said, even more is possible. The candidate makes astoundingly astute observation of language, writing up two very good analytical points from a single word - "poppy" and this is the level of detail high-scoring candidates are expected to work towards. Where the improvement can be made is the recognition of themes in 'On my First Sonne'. The theme of religion is strong throughout, with Jonson believing his son was a gift from God and was only leant for "seven years". What does this say about the author? How is this different from Heaney who, let's not forget, is also a Christian?
Response to question
This answer is an analysis of the poems 'Mid-Term Break' by Seamus Heaney and 'On my First Sonne' by Ben Jonson. The candidate retain and excellent focus for the entirety of the answer and very rarely diverges from their analysis. The introductory and concluding paragraphs are sufficient in length and content so create a nicely rounded essay. The structure of the essay is fine though it may serve the candidate better to concentrate on similarities and differences between the two poems such as powerful imagery; nuances of death; poetic devices like metaphors, pathetic fallacy, similes; religious connotations, etc. and base the paragraphs around that, because whilst this analysis covers a nice range of analytical points, the structure is quite irregular. This is nothing that is going to penalise the candidate's mark; it just makes it easier to read and follow a cohesive thread.