A poem that deals with death and grief is â€œMid-term Breakâ€ by Seamus Heaney. The poem describes a boy who is brought home from school to attend the funeral of his younger brother who was tragically knocked down by a car. Heaney uses emotive language to emphasise the boyâ€™s reaction to this event.
At the start of the poem Heaney gives the reader an idea that something is not right.
â€œI sat all morning in the college sickbayâ€ this suggests that the boy has been called out of class and has been waiting to be picked up. To show that the boy was there for a long time he was â€œcounting bells knellingâ€ the word â€œknellingâ€ is used to describe funeral bells. This is an effective metaphor as the bells sound like funeral bells to the boy which implies that someone has died. The boy was not picked up by his parents, â€œour neighbours drove us homeâ€ this adds to the notion that ...view middle of the document...
The reader knows that the father is used to attending funerals by the phrase â€œhe has always taken funerals in his strifeâ€. This also gives the reader an idea that the person that has died is very close to the boy and his family. The babyâ€™s actions at the funeral are contrasting everyone elseâ€™s, â€œthe baby cooed and laughedâ€. Almost as if it were laughing at the adultâ€™s grief. When the men treat the boy as if he were and adult by â€œstanding up to shake my handâ€ the boy feels uncomfortable and embarrassed.
The poet witnesses the people around him acting differently, especially his father, which must seem strange to him.
In the last stanzas Heaney creates a calm mood by using strong and emotional language which gives the reader a peaceful image of the dead boy.
The phrase â€œstarched and bandagedâ€ suggests that there was an attempt to stop the bleeding. â€œSnowdrops and candles soothedâ€ snowdrops represent peace which suggests that the boy is resting in peace. Candles bring a calm mood to the scene, contrasting what they are placed next to. The boy was â€œwearing a poppy bruiseâ€. Poppies symbolise remembrance the poet is conveying that this event will stay in his memory for a long time.
The peaceful mood that Heaney sets shows that the deceased boy is sleeping in peace unaware of the sorrow he has left his family in.
The last two lines of the poem are when the poet finally reveals to the reader what exactly has happened.
â€œThe bumper knocked him clearâ€ we now know that the young boy has been involved in a car accident. â€œA four foot box, a foot for every yearâ€ the poet only now exposes his brotherâ€™s age to the reader. Heaney uses alliteration effectively, the sharp sound of the letter â€œfâ€ emphasises the shortness of the boys life and the short second that he was knocked down.
This leaves the reader to think about death and makes them pity the poet and his brother.
Heaney creates a moving poem that expresses the finality of death and the grief that relatives deal with after. He uses effective imagery which creates a sad and gloomy atmosphere. The abrupt last line shakes the readerâ€™s emotions ending the poem with a sad tone.