Essay on Analysis of Blackberry Picking by Seamus Heaney

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Analysis of Blackberry Picking by Seamus Heaney

Once the reader can passes up the surface meaning of the poem Blackberry-Picking, by Seamus Heaney, past the emotional switch from sheer joy to utter disappointment, past the childhood memories, the underlying meaning can be quite disturbing. Hidden deep within the happy-go-lucky rifts of childhood is a disturbing tale of greed and murder. Seamus Heaney, through clever diction, ghastly imagery, misguided metaphors and abruptly changing forms, ingeniously tells the tale that is understood and rarely spoken aloud. Seamus Heaney refers to Bluebeard at the end of stanza one. Bluebeard, according to the footnote, is a character in a fairy tale who murders his wives. Why on earth would
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Realizing unconsciously seems like an oxymoron, but the speaker does not consciously realize the horrors of his actions, while deep down understands what he has done. The speaker’s extreme joy from hording all the delicious blackberries turns into horror upon witnessing their fermentation (2nd stanza). The speaker realizes that all good things must come to an end. He knows that, out of his greed, he has murdered these blackberries, made then ferment and caused them to loose their succulent appeal.
At first glance this poem seems a happy tale of childhood. These are memories that make the heart smile. Images of heavy summer storms full of rain, alternating with bright, joyous sunshine, full bushels of blackberries waiting to be picked; these are images most can relate with. The reader can taste the bitter-sweetness of the summer’s first blackberry, feel the scratch of briars against their own skin, sense the excitement and butterflies in their own stomachs as they race to gather all the wondrous blackberries they can, followed by the anger and the disappointment when the blackberries rot and ferment before the readers’ eyes. However, if the reader were to take the diction and imagery quite literally, a somewhat different picture is aroused. “…a glossy purple clot…” (line 3) describing the first ripened blackberry, brings to mind the picture of a nasty blood clot in someone’s veins, why would Heaney compare blackberries to blood clots?
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