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Read The Following Poems By Thomas Hardy (‘The Oxen’) And Seamus Heaney (‘Cow In Calf’) In The Faber Book Of Beasts (Pp.195 And 62). In No More Than 600 Words, Compare The Ways In Which The Two Poets Represent Cattle

766 words - 4 pages

Read the following poems by Thomas Hardy (‘The Oxen’) and Seamus Heaney (‘Cow in Calf’) in The Faber Book of Beasts (pp.195 and 62). In no more than 600 words, compare the ways in which the two poets represent cattle.

New forms of poetry, however radical they appear, almost always show traces of tradition. (Danson Brown, 2008, p.63) ‘The Oxen’ written by Thomas Hardy and ‘Cow in Calf’ by Seamus Heaney show significant differences but also share some common traditional qualities. ‘The Oxen’ is a narrative poem telling the reader a story about Christmas, and about the oxen, that according to folk tradition would kneel at midnight in Christmas Eve. It also follows the speaker’s, Hardy’s, ...view middle of the document...

To represent the cattle with words, Hardy and Heaney use a number of traditional devices, including alliteration and repetition. To strengthen the tone change in the third Stanza, where Hardy is realising that the traditions past down may be fictional, the majority of Hardy’s alliteration is used. The alliteration in this stanza can also be interpreted as anger almost all the words used are monosyllabic. ‘Fair’, ‘fancy’ and ‘few’, ‘Years. Yet’ and ‘some’, ‘said’ and ‘see’ (‘The Oxen’, Lines 9 – 12). Heaney uses Alliteration in ‘Cow and calf’ and also the senses, such as sight, sound and touch that every reader would relate to generate a stronger image. The alliteration is distributed over the first two stanzas. In the first stanza, ‘barrel’ and ‘belly’(‘Cow in Calf’, Line 1-3), are used to create an image of a round object, such as the pregnant cow. This also provides evidence of the sense of sight. In the second stanza there is evidence of the sense of sound and movement with the onomatopoeic words ‘slapping’, ‘seed’ and ‘strapped’ creating the sense of movement as the hand slaps the cow out of the byre and alliterated words, ‘blows’ and ‘bomb’ (‘Cow in Calf’, Lines 7-8)...

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