Death Of A Whale

Decent Essays
Poets convey their ideas, thoughts and feelings through various structures and techniques. John Blights “Death of a Whale” (a modern sonnet) brings up the issue of death on a large scale, and how us humans have all got a cruel side to ourselves. Seamus Heaney’s “The Skylight” (also a modern sonnet) describes to the reader his battle to realisation with an installation of a sky light that his wife insists on. Both poems are modern sonnets using poetic language such as alliteration, personification and smilies to express their ideas vividly to the reader.

Death of a whale is a modern sonnet influenced by shakespearian sonnets due to the line length and ending rhyming couplet. Blight shares with us his observation of how people will feel great
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For example he uses words like ‘Lugubrious’, ‘tiny, delicate creature’ and ‘wring’. In a very short poem he has conveyed a very big and powerful idea with the use of these poetic words.
“How must a whale die to wring a tear?”
Blight uses a rhetorical question to extend his judgement of humans and also stop the reader in their tracks to ask themselves the same thing. The use of the word ‘wring’ shows how people aren’t as upset, tears aren’t falling out as easily instead it is implying that you would have to extract tears.
“The big feast for the gulls and the sharks; the tug of the tide…”

The writer has used imagery to create a vivid image for the reader to visualise and connect with Blight’s observation. “Feast for the gulls and sharks” also captures a sense of celebration. Since the Whale corpse is now a “big feast” it suddenly solves the issue that the community appeared to have on their bay. Alliteration -“the tug of the tide…”- has also been used to extend the image of dead whale and keep the rhythm flowing through the poem. The third quatrain starts with a volta (a shift in emotion, typical of shakespearian
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“…When a child dies; but the immolation of a race, who cries?”
This final couplet is a comparison to the mouse and whale, meaning that a mouse is like a child, when both die its a shock, people feel pity and sadness. But when a whale dies it is like a whole race dead, nobody really cares and people can live with it or they will only care about what it looks like and how it will effect themselves.

Seamus Heaney’s “The Skylight” is also a modern sonnet. in “The Skylight” Heaney explores his opposition to his wife’s plan to install a skylight in the attic of his house. Heaney explains how he loves his closed, dark space. Eventually his wife does install the skylight and Heaney feels a great sense of freedom to his surprise.
Heaney uses a range of rich vocabulary and techniques to communicate his idea to the audience. He makes you feel and smell the attic’s warmth with the descriptive language used.

“I opposed cutting into the seasoned tongue-and-groove of pitch
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