With the death of his young brother, Heaney is moved to write about the experience and in turn he gives the reader a somber look at death in his family. One of the examples seen of literary devices used in the poem is in the use of narration. Seamus Heaney wrote “Mid-Term Break” from the perspective of a first person narrator, with the main character assumed to be the poet himself, to recall the events surrounding the death of his younger brother. Haney uses the narration to try and separate himself from the reality of his brother’s
Jonathan, as he tells this first person narrative, does not come right out and put words to his feelings concerning his father. At the start of the story Jonathan plainly states that his father died in 1955 and he explains the situation of how Jonathan’s aunts on his dad’s side choose not to tell Jonathan’s grandmother about his father’s passing, but he does not reveal the sorrow resulting from the death of his father. Instead of clearly stating Jonathan’s feelings, Doctorow utilizes symbolism throughout the story to readdress Jonathan’s pain. The problems with Jonathan’s father’s grave, the discomfort of Jonathan trying on clothes of his father’s and the bad dreams Jonathan experiences are all symbols used sporadically to reflect on the pain felt by Jonathan due to the death of his father. In “The Writer in the Family,” E.L Doctorow uses the symbolism of the father’s missing headstone, the dreams Jonathan has of his deceased father and Jonathan’s reactions as he tries on his father’s suit to reveal his inner conflict over his father’s Feid 2 The first instance revealing Jonathan’s inner conflict is the image of his father’s missing headstone.
The poem “Mid-Term Break”, written by Seamus Heaney is about the death of the author’s brother and it shows how people reacted to this. It is written from the point of view of young Heaney, taken from school after his brother died. The poem successfully conveys Heaney’s sense of grief through various poetic techniques such as metaphor, simile and alliteration. It does not have a specific rhythm, but there is rhyme in the final two lines of the poem. There are seven stanzas with three lines per stanza.
The poem's title suggests a holiday but this "break" does not happen for pleasant reasons. For most of the poem Heaney writes of people's differing reactions and at the end he is able to grieve honestly. In the poem Heaney travels home from school to attend the funeral of his 4-year old brother who was killed in a tragic accident. During the funeral Heaney is confronted with many issue's that make him feel uneasy while he still struggles to come to terms with the incident that stands before him: the death of his little brother! In this poem, the writer uses many techniques to express the misery of the situation.
Reading a story or poem about death is usually sad and overtly predictable. However, Seamus Heaney inverts this mundane typicality to deliver a poem shrouded in mystery. The main aspects of Heaney's poem Mid-Term Break are the plot development and how the diction sets the somber tone that slowly reveals the mystery. One technique Heaney uses is diction, which aids in plot development. In the first stanza he uses words that draw out the stanza and make it seem to last a long time.
Both “My Fathers Song” and “[Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone]” deal with the death of a loved one, however each carry a different tone and themes on how the speaker copes with loss. Through the use of imagery and figurative language the poems create their own way to express their loss. The themes in the poems are different in dealing with death and both show the process of loss at different points. “My Fathers Song” seems to take place a good time after the death and the speaker is reminded poignantly that he misses his father. The “[Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone]” speaker is more frustrated and seems to take place at a closer point of the death.
Heaney went on to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. The poet’s title Mid-Term Break is somewhat ambiguous as it would suggest a holiday of some sort, whereas, the poem is actually about the death of Heaney’s young brother who was killed in a tragic accident. The thoughts of death are brought to the fore almost immediately as the poem begins with a funeral note in line two: ‘…counting bells knelling classes to a close.’ The word ‘knelling’ reminds the poet of the church bells tolling for a funeral. In the second stanza we are aware that the tragedy which has occurred is different as funerals usually did not disturb his father in the way that this one had. Heaney recalls the embarrassment he felt when the adults sympathised with him and paid his deference saying ‘they were sorry for my trouble.’ This seemed to perplex him as it was a reversal of roles.
Our suspicions of a death are confirmed in the second stanza, when the narrator describes his father as having "always taken funerals in their stride." In this instance though, the father's tears indicate the passing of someone incredibly close to him - immediate family. The third line, "Big Jim Evans saying it was a hard blow," tells us that the death is a particularly tragic one, and one that will be difficult to come to terms with. We learn in stanza three that the narrator has a younger sibling and how his or her reactions are in such stark contrast to the solemn reality of the scene. "The baby cooed and laughed and rocked the pram."
(2014) all individuals experience emotions, which are usually based on the situation as well as the psychological and behavioural reactions. When I found out that uncle Kobus died, I felt devastated, because he was my father’s best friend and he was also like a father to me. According to Louw et al. (2015) there are four solutions to emotional significance, namely problem focused strategies, cognitive analytical strategies, passive dependant strategies, and avoidant strategies. In the case of the death of my father’s best friend, I made use of the passive dependant and the avoidant strategies- I attempted to withdraw myself from the situation and also to deny it.
Heaney wanted to express his feelings, to let us know what he felt like having to cope with the death of his little brother. It must have been a particularly difficult situation for him. There is a lot of sadness in the poem from the beginning. Heaney writes of ‘bells knelling classes to a close’. ‘Knelling is a sound of funeral bells, not a school bell.