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How Do You Respond To Mid-Term Break? What techniques does Heaney use?

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How Do You Respond To Mid-Term Break? What techniques does Heaney use?

Having read the title Mid-Term Break, I assumed that the poem

Having read the title ‘Mid-Term Break’, I assumed that the poem was

about a student’s holiday abroad or something similar, however as I

progressed through reading the play, I realized that it had a

different meaning. The poem has a very deceiving title, a mid-term

break is supposed to be a joyous time of holiday but here Heaney must

deal with the death of a family member. This misleading title is the

first technique used by Heaney to attract the attention of the

reader. The poem is also told in first person and this gives the

effect that the emotions come straight from the boy to the reader. We

respond directly to the boy, which provokes greater sympathy in us

when we find out that his brother dies.

The first stanza is telling us that the boy is away from home,

isolated, upset and waiting. It is made up of short sentences to build

up tension and create shock as though the reader is expecting

something to happen. One phrase that struck me was ‘our neighbors

drove me home’. This suggested to me that something had happened as

usually a student’s parents take them to and from school. We then

find out that the father, apparently always strong at other funerals,

is distraught, while the mother is too angry to cry. Also the

euphemism used by ‘Big Jim Evans’ – ‘it's a hard blow’. Having read

this I thought it suggested that he probably is afraid to express his

condolences and tries to make it as manly as possible. But later I

realized that ‘Big Jim Evans’ is speaking of a metaphorical ‘blow’ as

we find out that the boy was killed in a car crash.

Heaney then walks into the living room and is met by older men. They

stand to greet him and they shake his hand and one says ‘Sorry for my

trouble’. This was rare for him because these men were treating him

as an equal and I was confused at this point as to why older men were

apologizing to a young boy and turned to respect him. This is another

technique used to create more tension. By telling us his emotions "I

was embarrassed" we have a better idea of the atmosphere around him.

We can tell by the tone in which the boy introduces his family, that

he is not content with the current situation.

He then enters the bedroom of his brother.
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