• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

With close reference to at least two poems, discuss the ways in which Heany presents either families or children. You must use comparisons and contrasts.

Extracts from this document...


Georgia Smith 10H 11th March 2001 With close reference to at least two poems, discuss the ways in which Heany presents either families or children. You must use comparisons and contrasts. Seamus Heany uses exciting and original methods to convey his ides and attitudes towards subjects within his poems. He explores many themes including his own childhood, admiration for his father, experiences of living on a farm and life and death from a child's perspective. Heany's poetry has been described as a celebration of the living past. His individual approach to the use of imagery, rhythm, ideas and literary effects have earned him great respect and recognition. The effective use of these devices within poems like 'Midterm Break' and 'The Early Purges' is especially apparent. Heany's poem, 'The Early Purges' explores his memory of the ways in which animals were treated on a farm and the changing perspective and understanding of a child to an adult. The title of the poem immediately takes us back to Heany's childhood with 'early' and creates unpleasant images with 'purges' as this generally implies the disposal of something undesirable. By using this sort of cryptic title, Heany puts the reader in a slightly uncomfortable and expectant frame of mind. ...read more.


He ends a poem with the blunt but adult view that on a well-run farm pests have to be kept down. This unequivocal statement makes complete sense. Throughout the poem Heany uses the constant mixture and contrast of the casual to the disturbing. He presents children as innocent and sensitive. The effective use of contrasting vocabulary and steady rhythm give the poem a balanced feeling which results in a clear understanding of how, as perspectives change so do attitudes. Heany explores many different childhood experiences within his poetry. When he was 14, his younger brother was killed in an accident. 'Mid-Term Break' is a poem he wrote as an adult looking back on his brother's funeral. He looks at his reaction to the death and how he feels about the people around him at the time. The first stanza of the poem creates a sense of expectation as it includes lots of detail. We can tell immediately, again, from 'mid-term' and 'college' that it is about Heany's childhood. The detail of how he 'sat' and the exactness of the time; 'two o'clock' are all very descriptive but tell us nothing about how he feels. This indicates that, as a child, he feels confused and lonely about such a tragedy. ...read more.


'Gaudy' is a word implying tackiness and fun, so it is strange when describing a dead person but Heany manages to jolt the reader in to recognising the seriousness with 'knocked', without sensationalising the accident. The last line of the poem is singled out. After regular three line stanzas the last stanza is singular and the pathos captures the detachment that Heany has presented within himself throughout the poem. Heany presents children and family using visual images and symbols in this poem. We can see the bond between the family members but also the total isolation caused by such a devastating tragedy. It is clear that in these two poems Heany has not undermined children in anyway, he has presented them in a very complex light. It is strange how different the reactions to death are in 'The Early Purges' and 'Mid-Term Break'. Heany has explored two similar themes but created such different responses to them. The ideas, attitudes and experiences are put forward in thoughtful and intricate ways. In 'The Early Purges' he focuses on the innocence of children and then in 'Mid-Term Break' he concentrates on their responsibility and ability to adapt to situations. The techniques he uses are greatly effective and I find his poetry both interesting and moving. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Seamus Heaney section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Seamus Heaney essays

  1. Peer reviewed

    Compare 'Digging' and 'Follower' by Seamus Heany

    4 star(s)

    and changed their relationship and high esteem his father was held in by Heaney. Therefore, 'Digging' suggests that Heaney still feels inadequate to his father; whereas in 'Follower' it's his father's inadequacy that has prompted their change in relationship. Heaney uses poetic devices such as enjambment in 'Digging' between the

  2. Poetry Comparason of "Follower", by Seamus Heany and "The lesson" by Edward Lucie-Smith.

    one eye and stiffen my arm", this verse gives us a special meaning, even though its not the most important for the development of the poem, but gives us a feeling of accuaracy, that the child wants to put on his work.

  1. With reference to two or three of the poems, compare the different ways in ...

    In the second stanza it describes Seamus watching his father digging with expertise, "I look down". In both the poems the people are absent and passive, watching from a distance and trying to fully absorb what they are seeing or hearing.

  2. Comparing Follower and Digging by Seamus Heany

    So in both poems the writer looks up to his father. In the ' Follower ' the writer wants to be able to plough a field - ' I wanted to grow up and plough, To close one eye, stiffen my arm ' and he describes his father as being ' An expert.

  1. Using the four poems; 'Song of the old mother' by William Butler Yeats, 'On ...

    This is a very effective way of getting the reader attention without the reader really realising. There are no similes or oxymoron in this poem. The word fire is used in this poem repeatedly as it is a strong addictive and make the poem more powerful.

  2. Compare the way Nature is presentedin two pre-1914 and two post 1914 poems

    The last line 'and like a thunderbolt he falls' makes one think of Zeus -King of the Greek Gods hurling down his thunderbolts of wrath. It is different from the other three in its theme for this matter, but similar as it too depicts the greatness of Mother Nature's creatures.

  1. Poetry and Children.

    Thomas thinks that children interpret the way adults look down on them with an amused look and as I see my sisters child quite a lot, I notice that we do try our best to get down to the child's level and also involve ourselves constantly in their play, thinking that we inhabit the same world.

  2. Comparing and contrasting

    However, despite these nice images, Heaney also uses such words as "sweating" and "stumbled" with them. This means that he wants to show country life from both angles and explain to the reader that while it may look nice and the visual rewards may be great, but that it takes

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work