Analysis Of Blackberry Picking By Seamus Heaney

1228 Words5 Pages
The Inner Heaney: Buried Beneath a Bog
Seamus Heaney is one of the most profound and influential writers in Irish history. His poetry primarily consisted, in the beginning, of events from his childhood to his early adult years, highlighting the maturation process of that age period. His poetry changed during the Troubles of Northern Ireland, the Irish Civil Rights Movement that included terrorism from the Irish Republican Army in order to achieve emancipation from Britain, which changed to a darker tone and had an inner conflict between inherent freedoms versus the pressure to express social needs of the people. With this, he wrote about Irish history and the troubles of Northern Ireland while still incorporating nature, especially bogs, into
…show more content…
In Heaney’s poem “Blackberry Picking”, the narrator describes the blackberries as sweet so he picked as many as he could find and stored them. He then expresses that “it wasn’t fair that all the lovely canfuls smelt of rot. Each year I hoped they’d keep, knew they would not” (Blackberry Picking). Heaney wrote this based on his own experiences of blackberry picking where he realizes that time turns the berries’ once sweet juices into something vile. Visual imagery is used as an element to vividly describe the deterioration of nature and discuss that as time goes on, things that seem so beautiful and vibrant eventually turn to dust. The blackberries symbolize the narrator’s, or in this case Heaney’s, innocence as he comes to the honest conclusion that death is inevitable and that nothing, especially the blackberries, lasts forever; making every moment so precious since time is relentless. Heaney describes the narrator in “Death of a Naturalist” as happy and enthusiastic about taking frogspawn until “angry frogs invaded the flax-dam; [he] ducked through the hedges to a coarse croaking that [he] had not heard before” (Death of a Naturalist). The use of alliteration in “coarse croaking” portrays the “angry frogs” who express their deep-seated dislike of the boy, or the narrator, who continues to collect “jampotfuls” of the frogspawn. Since the narrator is Heaney, the…show more content…
In “Bog Queen”, the Bog Queen states that “the plait of my hair, a slimy birth-cord of bog, had been cut and I rose from the dark, hacked bone, skull ware, frayed stitches, tufts, small gleams on the bank” (Bog Queen). The Bog Queen, which represents Northern Ireland, discusses her quest for revenge against Britain for exploiting her, by symbolizing her unnatural removal from the earth. The violent imagery described was Heaney’s way to show Northern Ireland’s ferocity for independence and redemption after many years of involuntary slavery; moreover, he wishes the Bog Queen/Ireland’s features left alone by the British leaving the nature at peace. In Punishment the narrator, Heaney, states while looking at one of the uncovered bog bodies “I who have stood dumb when your betraying sisters, cauled in tar, wept by the railings, who would connive in civilized outrage yet understand the exact tribal, intimate revenge” (Punishment). Heaney expresses his grief over the innocent victims of crimes committed by the tribal men, who represent the Irish Republican Army, both of whom committed similar acts of brutality even with the large separations of periods. Heaney believes that the acts of atrocities committed by the Irish Republican Army are unjust based off of the physical irregularities as described earlier in the poem comparing them to decaying

    More about Analysis Of Blackberry Picking By Seamus Heaney

      Open Document