"The Lesson" tells the story of a 10 year old boy who has lost his
father in the duration of school time. It goes on the say he's trapped
and although he feels grief for the death of his father he realises
that he can use the death to "bind the bullies' fist".
"Mid-Term Break" is about the loss of a brother. It goes on to say
that life goes on even though he has lost his brother and he witnesses
things he does not normally experience (his father crying).
The meaning of "Mid-Term Break" is to tell the story of an accident
involving a young child and a vehicle. He tries to explain how life
goes on and the death of the boy's brother doesn't mean that life
stops. It goes on to show that because his brother has died certain
things happen that he doesn't usually see "I met my father crying" and
" Old men standing up to shake my hand". It ends with the powerful and
chilling line "a four foot box, a foot for every year" This shows that
the boy was very young and had a small coffin because he was only 4
years of age.
The poems structure is very neat and very tidy. He chooses to write in
three line stanzas because this allows the poem to flow easily and
allows the stanza below it the link in with its predecessor. By also
having three line stanzas helps the last line have more of a "punch"
feeling because it breaks the mould.
Heaney avoids using rhyme in this piece because we usually associate
rhyme with happiness and glee. Because of this reason Heaney purposely
makes this poem sad and hopeless.
The mood changes throughout the poem. At the start the mood is sombre,
sad and mysterious but when it reache...
... middle of paper ...
"Pride, like a goldfish, flashed a sudden fin": we can imagine the
goldfish swimming in their bowl, perhaps set in the sunshine on a
windowsill. The sun catches a goldfish at a certain angle, and the
gold of its scales suddenly shines brightly. The speaker, caught in
the sunshine of all this attention and sympathy, suddenly feels pride
shining in him.
At no point in this poem does the speaker express sadness at the loss
of his father. However, he is aware that he should feel something, and
his shame at the lack of feeling is in conflict with his relief and
his pride. What is uppermost in the speaker's mind is the confined
little world of the school (rather like the "shining prison" of the
goldfish bowl). His life is centred on school, the bullying, his other
I think the bitter lesson he learns is about his own self-centredness.
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