Compare Heaney’s Exploration of the Themes of Death in the Poems ‘the Early Purges’ and ‘Midterm Break’

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Compare Heaney’s exploration of the themes of death in the poems ‘The Early Purges’ and ‘Midterm Break’ Heaney’s poems ‘The Early Purges’ and ‘Midterm Break’ deal with the macabre theme of death in similar ways in terms of structure but the techniques he uses by way of form and language to articulate his feelings about the loss of life are vastly different. They were both written about youthful naivety and childhood experiences ad his transition to pragmatism, or rather the speedy voyage he had to make into adulthood in rural Ireland. In ‘The Early Purges’ Heaney is portrayed as a wide eyed boy, struggling to come to terms with the self-sufficiency that comes with the farming lifestyle, the first line helps to signify the finality of…show more content…
We find out that his sibling’s death was due to a car crash which makes the situation very sensitive which contradicts Heaney’s attitude towards it. It’s as though as the boy’s intellectual capacity increases with age so does the way he deals with death in terms of making light of it. What also works excellently is the ways in which he is able to show the absolute finality of the respective circumstances in different ways, for instance like in ‘The Early Purges’ when he uses caesura effectively so show the brutality of non commercial farming, ‘shot crows....or with a sickening tug’ This pause at the end of the line creates an air of suspense that doesn’t subside until we see how the ‘pests’ are exterminated literally mirroring the ‘sickening’ feeling of the tug, whilst in ‘Midterm Break’ he uses different techniques. He uses many juxtaposing ideas, such as ‘snowdrops...and candles soothed the bedside’ these details which directly contradict each other is perfect for trying to understand the differing emotions which could potentially be found surrounding such a loss. The snowdrops could represent the ice cold emptiness left in Heaney’s heart whilst the candle represents the eternal flame of his brother’s memory in his heart? These are the images that are created to me from such simple techniques. Another recurring theme is the irony to increase the sense of pathos associated with the poem, for example ‘knelling classes to a close’ this
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