Blackberry Picking Essay

Blackberry Picking Essay

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Blackberry Picking

Blackberry picking is about greed, growing up, how we struggle in life
and how pleasure can be taken away from us very quickly. Heaney
writes retrospectively, about the times he as a child would go
blackberry-picking every year, as a metaphor for these experiences.

The first stanza of the poem is mostly quite positive and
enthusiastic. The first part of the stanza describes the the ripening
of the berries, “given heavy rain and sun for a full week, the
blackberries would ripen”. He also gives us an image of the berries.
Heaney uses the metaphor “a glossy purple clot” for the ripe berries,
and the similie “hard as a knot” for the unripe berries. When you say
“hard as a knot”, the sound is quite short, indicating that the
berries are not yet ripe. It then continues to write about the frenzy
of picking them - “lust for picking”.

Heaney presents the tasting of the berries as a sensual process, and
also uses words like “flesh”, and “thickened wine” to make the berries
sound so desirable. Also“lust”, to describe the childrens
unrestrained desire and appetite for them.

Heaney uses a lot of figurative language in this poem.
Personification and a series of metaphors and similies are used:
“flesh was sweet like thickened wine”, the berry is personified and
there is use of a similie, the metaphor “summer’s blood”, referring to
the hard work and nourishment that nature has put into it, and then
suddenly it is taken away by the children.

It is the peoples “hunger” and “lust”for the berries that sends them
out to fill up their “milk-cans, pea-tins, jam-pots” until they are
fully filled up with blackberries – “until the tinkling bottom has
been covered”. Onomatopoeia is used - “tinkling...


... middle of paper ...


...ow long and painful the process of
picking the blackberries are, how they got their hands full of thorn
pricks. Then after a short while, the berries start to rot, and the
“sweet flesh” of the berries would turn sour.

Heaney writes this poem to reveal that life is about disappointment,
and that good things won’t last, while relating it back to a childhood
event of his past. It is also about growing up, and ageing, as we get
the contrast of the adults and childrens view in the last stanza.

I found this poem very enjoyable and interesting to study, because
when I was reading the poem, it almost felt like I could taste the
blackberries. I like his use of figurative language, especially the
way he described the berries. Another reason why I liked this poem is
because I like the way Heaney uses past events of his life to express
certain ideas about life.

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