Seamus Heaney

1515 WordsJul 14, 20127 Pages
Poetry is often regarded the genre of the elite, but just as often champions are oppressed. Discuss with a detailed reference to two or more poems. The poems ‘Limbo’ and ‘Bye Child’ by Seamus Heaney are poems that evoke the casualties of sexual and emotional repression in Ireland, as well as and the oppression of both women and un baptized children, in a time where religion was most prominent and people were confined to the guidelines of the church and it’s community, as it was the ruling power. Both poems present this idea through the use of a child, representative of innocence and vulnerability. Through his poetry, Heaney gives a voice to those who have been silenced by society. Heaney manages to create this extended voice and…show more content…
This poem uses biblical imagery and grotesque association with water to depict a mother drowning her own child through desire to follow the morals of civilization of that time. The poem involves many circumstances of biblical imagery because it is very reminiscent of the idea of church being an over ruling power at the time. ‘Illegitimate spawning’ this refers to the child being unable to be baptized, which was at the least frowned upon by the Christian church. Background knowledge of the ideals of the Christian church tells readers that the woman would not have been able to abort the child, but the child once born would have be considered illegitimate for the entirety of it’s life. The reason for this may have been that the child was conceived before marriage. ‘Even Christ’s palms, unhealed, Smart and cannot fish here.’ Suggesting that even Jesus himself cannot redeem an illegitimate child. This positions the reader to view the child’s helplessness from the beginning of its life, and view that the child has been oppressed due to the conditions that the child has been conceived under. A voice is given to the mother in this poem, who is representative of all women who have suffered under the churches morals and values and still hold a high regard for religion, in this case, Christianity. It is clear from Heaney’s depiction of suffering that the mother does share a maternal bond with
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