Various Expressions of Grief

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Various Expressions of Grief Heaney’s lyric poem “Mid- Term Break” is filled with various expressions of emotions caused by the death of a loved one. Robert Stecker in, “Expressiveness and Expression in Music and Poetry” stated that, “It is also virtually impossible to read a lyric poem without taking it to express and attitude toward (a possibly fictional) someone or some (possibly fictional) state of affairs.” (89). In the case of this lyric, it is the reactions of the loved ones left behind after the unexpected death of a four year old little boy that are expressed in this poem. In the book, Modern Poetry and Ethnography Heuston states, “In his Nobel lecture, Heaney says what he values most in poetry is, “it’s truth to life in every sense of that phrase…” (124). This theme and phrase fits perfectly with this poem because death is a truth to life. Furthermore, there is an expected reaction to death that includes extreme displays of sadness and grief, which is not consistently true. In this poem the readers are presented with various reactions to death, some that meet the expectation of an extensive outward expression of their extreme sadness during this time, and others that do not. Along with how some characters follow the gender stereotypes of how they are supposed to express emotion. These extreme expressions of emotions that are expected can include anything from simple tears to sobbing. In this poem, “Mid-Term Break”, the mother is the one who closely follows the expectation of expressing these extreme emotions of sadness and grief when dealing with the death of her child. The speaker tells the audience that , “… as my mother held my hand / In hers and coughed out angry tearless sighs.” (12-13). In this line of the poem... ... middle of paper ... ...ions of emotions meet the expectations that others have for how to deal with loss while others do not. This poem as a whole expresses how every individual is different and will handle their emotions in a different way. Works Cited Heuston, Sean. "Making Strange: Heaney and Literary Ethnography." Modern Poetry and Ethnography: Yeats, Frost, Warren, Heaney, and the Poet as Anthropologist. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011. 124. Print Mays, Kelly. Mid-Term Break. 11th. New York, London: W. W. Norton & Company, 2014. 687. Print. Stecker, Robert. "Expressiveness and Expression in Music and Poetry." Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 59.1 (2001): 89. Print. Worland, Joy. "Girls Will Be Girls ... And So On." Children & Libraries: The Journal Of The Association For Library Service To Children 6.1 (2008): 42-46. Academic Search Complete. Web. 15 Apr. 2014.

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