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The Theme Of Death In Mid-Term Break And The Early Purges Essay

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The Theme Of Death In Mid-Term Break And The Early Purges


The Irish poet Seamus Heaney is renowned for evoking his very personal
experiences and feelings throughout his poetry. He frequently calls
upon those experiences from his childhood to support his adult
feelings over given topics and circumstances. The two poems Mid-Term
Break and Early Purges both present two very personal experiences of
Heaney's surrounding his juvenile experiences of death.

Both poems combine a variation of techniques in miscellaneous manners
to present such views. Mid-Term Break concerns itself with Heaney's
remorse and suffering over his brother, an unjustified death over
which he had no control. Early Purges, alternatively, concerns itself
with an inability of Heaney to use such command to prevent an
unnecessary death.

The titles of both poems are very symbolical to what the poem is all
about.

'Mid-Term Break'

The word 'break' implies Heaney's break from school, and also the
break in his brother's life.

'The Early Purges'

The word 'Purge' means to empty, cleanse, purify, and getting rid of
unpleasant things (in this poem, the unpleasant things are the
kittens).

Heaney's use of assonance in the opening lines of Mid-Term Break
echoes the ominous noises around him.

"Counting bells knelling to a close"

The use of the word "knelling" advocates an immediate sense that
something is wrong, since a knell is the bell rung at funerals. The
repetition of the "ell" sound is almost as if the bells are chiming
out.

In Early Purges, however, Heaney focuses especially on using
alliteration to indicate the atmosphere around him....


... middle of paper ...


...poem. Heaney finds it difficult to cope with such a loss
so young, and thus detaches himself to make things easier.

By contrast, in Early Purges, Heaney's attitude changes through the
poem, losing his innocence verse by verse. In the final stanza's this
is shown.

"It makes sense:"

Why does it? It is as if Heaney has been conditioned to accept death
of 'pests'.

The end of the poem is also very effective. Heaney shows contrast
between urban and rural views of death. 'Purging' is justified as the
animals are referred to as 'pests'.

In both poems, Heaney loses something very intimate to him. In
Mid-Term Break, Heaney loses his younger brother, in the same way as
in Early Purges, he loses his innocence. Mid-Term break is a very
emotional and depressing poem whereas Early Purges is very cruel and
harsh.


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