The Loss of Childhoos in Heaney's Poems Essay

The Loss of Childhoos in Heaney's Poems Essay

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The Loss of Childhoos in Heaney's Poems

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
adult world.

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?

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