Seamus Heaney's poems explore the loss of childhood and the cruel
awakening into the world of adulthood. Discuss.
Seamus Heaney has been described as 'the best Irish poet since Yeats'.
He was born on April 13th 1939 and was the eldest of nine children to
Margret and Patrick Heaney, at the family farm in Mossbawn. He studied
English in Queen's University in Belfast, also in Saint Joseph's
College in Belfast, to become a teacher. After many years of writing
"Death of a Naturalist" was published in 1966. It contains poems
symbolic of death of childhood, specifically Heaney's childhood as a
curious young "naturalist", eager to learn about nature.
Heaney's poems reveal his thoughts of his childhood and his family.
His poems are filled with the images of dying, but are also firmly
rooted in childhood. His poems of transition explore the journey from
childhood into the adult world.
"Blackberry Picking" is a reflection of adulthood and childhood.
Heaney tries to tell us that we should enjoy childhood because
adulthood is disappointing. He gives the message to have low
expectations, therefore when we grow up we will not be let down by the
The poem is written from an adult perspective, although it has many
childlike phrases in it. It is about Heaney's summer ventures with his
friends during which they would collect blackberries in "milk-cans,
pea-tins, jam-pots". It is an elegy, mourning the spiritual death of
childhood. The poem is also an extended metaphor. The beginning is
about childhood, seeing the world as a child. However there are
associations made with adulthood throughout the first stanza eg: "like
thickened wine." This implies that adulthood...
... middle of paper ...
...ive side to adultery, monotonous,
boring, defensive, greedy and engulfing. Heaney drags out all of the
aspects we loathe most about being an adult. Then he places them in an
intimidating setting, through a child's perspective and allows us to
interpret the experience for ourselves.
Heaney presents a generally pessimistic, almost fatalistic view of
adult life. His poems illustrate dangers and isolation vivid in adult
life, in contrast to the dependence we rely on in childhood. They
explain to us the dramatic change from innocence and purity as infants
to corruption and voracity in adulthood. The poems are used to convey
young Heaney's insecurities and uncertainties, coupled with a faint
progression through the conclusion of each of the poems: something has
been learned or achieved. What more can one hope for from these
significant childhood incidences?
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- How Seamus Heaney's Childhood Affected His Poetry Seamus Heaney was born in the North of Ireland in 1939 on a farm with his mother and father and nine other siblings. Generally Heaney's poems are influenced by animals through his childhood experience, specifically within 'The Early Purges' and 'An Advancement of Learning'. Heaney grew up near Belfast, during the time of 'The Troubles', the Irish civil war. Although Heaney left at the height of the war, it is obvious his work reflects his experiences of that time.... [tags: Seamus Heaney Childhood Poetry Poems Essays]
1104 words (3.2 pages)
- Heaney particually portrays the theme of 'loss of innocence' as a child through his peoms, 'Death of a Natrualist', 'Blackberry picking', 'Poem' and 'Personal Helicon'. Death of a Naturalsit of the first of Heaneys poems to really express this theme. 'All year round the flax-dam festered in the heart -------------------------------------------------- of the townland;green and heavey headed --------------------------------------- Flax rotted there.' In the first stanza Heaney uses rich imagery and purposeful child-like language such as 'festered' and 'warm thick slobber'.... [tags: Poems, Poetry]
830 words (2.4 pages)
- Seamus Heaney's Poems Heaney was born on April 13 1939. He was the eldest of nine children. In modern day society it is common to have 2 or 3 children, and to have eight or nine children is considered very unusual. Heaney lived on the family farm, Mossbawn, about thirty miles northwest of Belfast, in County Derry. The majority of UK residents live in urban areas, and a small minority live in rural areas. It used to be more popular in the past to live in a rural area. People in rural areas live, and have lived, in a totally different culture to that of the people in urban, industrialized areas.... [tags: Seamus Heaney Poetry Poets Essays]
4016 words (11.5 pages)
- Seamus Heaney's Background and Poetry Seamus Heaney had a Roman Catholic upbringing in a rural area of Northern Ireland. How does his poetry reflect his background. Heaney's poetry is able to reflect his background by his use of language and the technique he expresses his experiences. I will cover his background into three sections: his childhood, the community and his reflections. I will start by looking at his feelings and experiences in the poem 'Death of a Naturalist'. The poet remembers the time when he was a young child.... [tags: Seamus Heaney Poets Poems Essays]
3054 words (8.7 pages)
- Abstract This research takes a postmodern approach to Seamus Heaney's two poems: Bogland and The Tollund Man. The evidences in the research bring illuminations to the significant issues of postmodern concept. Heaney's poetry was studied in myth, politics and revolutionary movement in the area of Irish classical poetry. Recently, his poems are considered as postmodern. To answer that how much his poems are traditional, modern or postmodern is the aim of this project. Key Words: postmodernism, myth, imagery, technique, poetry, deadly, violence, corpse, bog, imagination, freedom.... [tags: Seamus Heaney Poetry Postmodern]
2849 words (8.1 pages)
- A Comparison of Seamus Heaney's Mid-Term Break and Digging I am comparing two poems by Seamus Heaney- `Mid-Term Break` and `Digging`. Both of the poems are written about his childhood and his family. The first poem I analysed was `Mid-Term Break`, where the simple and straight forward title `Break` caught my attention suggesting to me that this poem is going to be a positive experience, a break from work, a time to relax. The commencing stanza, the first line reads, ?I sat all morning in the college sick bay?, which has connotation of depression, illness and suffering suggested from the word `sick`.... [tags: Seamus Heaney Break Digging Poems Essays]
2070 words (5.9 pages)
- Examine two poems, Digging and Follower by Seamus Heaney and then compare the poems, explaining both their differences and similarities. The first poem I am going to examine is "digging" by Seamus Heaney. I will first comment on the title of the poem. "Digging" has both a metaphorical and literal meaning to it. The literal meaning is that his father and his grandfather are farmers. The poem talks about the men "Digging" and working, so this explains the literal meaning of the poem. The metaphorical meaning is that Seamus Heaney is "Digging" into his past and back round, which is farming.... [tags: Seamus Heaney Poems Poetry Essays]
1856 words (5.3 pages)
- Analysis of Seamus Heaney's North The poet Keats wrote that “the only means of strengthening one’s intellect is to make up one’s own mind about nothing – to let the mind be a thoroughfare for all thought, not a select body”. That this may be an admirable aim for a poet, and especially so for one writing against a background of ethnic violence, is not in doubt. It is, however, extremely difficult to remain neutral when one identifies oneself with an ethnic party involved in conflict. It is my intention, then, in this essay, to document how Seamus Heaney’s reaction to violence in his homeland has affected his writings, with particular reference to the volume of poetry entitled “North”.... [tags: Poetry Seamus Heaney Sexuality Poems Essays]
3770 words (10.8 pages)
- Death of Naturalist by Seamus Heaney The poem "Death of Naturalist" was written by a well known Irish poet Seamus Heaney. The title "Death of a Naturalist" gives us a sense of loss. The opening line "All year the flax-dam festered in the heart" gives us specific detail like in Blackberry picking. The alliteration in the first line such as flax-dom and festered links in with the second stanza. Flax-dom is an onomatopoeia and festered has association of sickness and decay. It contrasts with the happy description in the first stanza when he recalls collecting the frogspawn.... [tags: Death of Naturalist Seamus Heaney Essays]
664 words (1.9 pages)
- Heaney's Poem "Follower" Follower is a poem about the poets love and admiration for his father. It is also about the changes that occur between father and children as children move out from their parent’s shadow. In the first half of the poem the poet draws a vivid portrait of his father as he ploughs a field. The poet, as a young boy, follows his father as he goes about his work and, like most boys, he idolises his father and admires his great skill, ‘An expert. He would set the wing and fit the bright steel – pointed sock’.... [tags: Heaney Follower Essays]
1604 words (4.6 pages)