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Mid-Term Break Analysis



Author: Poetry of Seamus Heaney Type: Poetry Views: 1982

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I sat all morning in the college sick bay

Counting bells knelling classes to a close.

At two o'clock our neighbors drove me home.In the porch I met my father crying--

He had always taken funerals in his stride--

And Big Jim Evans saying it was a hard blow.The baby cooed and laughed and rocked the pram

When I came in, and I was embarrassed

By old men standing up to shake my handAnd tell me they were "sorry for my trouble,"

Whispers informed strangers I was the eldest,

Away at school, as my mother held my handIn hers and coughed out angry tearless sighs.

At ten o'clock the ambulance arrived

With the corpse, stanched and bandaged by the nurses.Next morning I went up into the room. Snowdrops

And candles soothed the bedside; I saw him

For the first time in six weeks. Paler now,Wearing a poppy bruise on his left temple,

He lay in the four foot box as in his cot.

No gaudy scars, the bumper knocked him clear.A four foot box, a foot for every year.





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||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below |||

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This poem can be seen as very powerful, firstly the title shows a touch of irony because a mid-term break is not the end of the term, for the narrator it is a stop off point like everyone else, but for the brother it is the end! The second stanza is a transition of this young boy going to a man. This poem has many techniques, irony, contrast encampment, euphemism, elipses, rhythm, imagery, alliteration.
The best bit about this poem is the last line. This is where I feel Heaney brings such power and emotions to the poem. He uses soothing and gentle alliteration to bring the realisation to a grinding halt. (Ac)

| Posted on 2014-01-03 | by a guest


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In response to another analysis, I would just like to touch on the background of the title and its significance. Seamus Heaney is from Ireland where students do actually have breaks mid term. However, this is still significant, probably not because he\'s using his brothers death as a holiday, but because it shows the contrast to what a holiday is expected to be like (happy, joyful, and a time to spend with family and loved ones) and what it ends up being for Seamus (grieving, lonely, confused). Hope that helps anyone!

| Posted on 2012-09-30 | by a guest


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Why did the old man stand up to shake his hand though the poet was still a boy at the time of the event?

| Posted on 2012-05-14 | by a guest


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xxx luvin the poem so much lol :)) MARYBETH IRWIN.

| Posted on 2010-01-11 | by a guest


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The theme of the poem is that of a very detached poet from his brother and he does not show any outward sign that his brother's death was a hard blow.
Firstly, the poet only describes others feelings but does not describe his own. His father "had always taken funerals in his stride" (as the funerals he attended were not that of his family but other people's) but this time, he even succumbed to "crying" which reflects that he was deeply saddened byt the event. Additionally, the poet describes Big Jim Evans to feel that the car incident to be a "hard blow". On a literal level, it shows of the impact of car hitting the little brother whereas metaphorically, the incident could also show the emotional blow. His mother had "coughed out angry tearless sighs". What is the poet's choice of using "tearless"? 1) to show that she had cried too much until there was no tears left 2) she blamed herself for being the one who did not protect her child well and therefore, led to his death. On the other had, the poet did not seem to be too concerned about the death and this highlights the theme of a distanced relationship.
Secondly, the poet referred to his brother as a "baby" when he was already 4 years old. In line 18, the poet stated that it was the "first time in six weeks" he was seeing his brother. It suggests that the poet only had the fleeting memory of his brother as a baby and hardly ever sees him, therefore contributing largely to the fact that the poet was not grieving over his death because of their "stranger-ed" relationship. Notice the emjambment in line 12 "held my hand/in hers". It suggests that the poet was just as detached from his mother as his brother.
The corpse was "starnched and bandaged", in an effort to stop the bleeding, yet could this have been internal injury, as seen from the "poppy bruise" and "no gaudy scars" or could it be because he was bound so tightly?
"Snowdroops/and candles soothed the bedside" -> The poet is attempting to make the affair seem less harsh, more pleasant, more peaceful, more pleasant.
Notice the title "Mid-Term Break". Notice that you only return from college at the END of the term and not midway. Therefore, it suggests that the poem likens the death of his brother to that of a holiday, a day when he could get away from schoolwork, a day that he can enjoy. This contributes to the theme of distanced family relationship where he views his brother's death as a break from work, as a holiday for him to enjoy.

| Posted on 2009-11-15 | by a guest


.: :.

The theme of the poem is that of a very detached poet from his brother and he does not show any outward sign that his brother's death was a hard blow.
Firstly, the poet only describes others feelings but does not describe his own. His father "had always taken funerals in his stride" (as the funerals he attended were not that of his family but other people's) but this time, he even succumbed to "crying" which reflects that he was deeply saddened byt the event. Additionally, the poet describes Big Jim Evans to feel that the car incident to be a "hard blow". On a literal level, it shows of the impact of car hitting the little brother whereas metaphorically, the incident could also show the emotional blow. His mother had "coughed out angry tearless sighs". What is the poet's choice of using "tearless"? 1) to show that she had cried too much until there was no tears left 2) she blamed herself for being the one who did not protect her child well and therefore, led to his death. On the other had, the poet did not seem to be too concerned about the death and this highlights the theme of a distanced relationship.
Secondly, the poet referred to his brother as a "baby" when he was already 4 years old. In line 18, the poet stated that it was the "first time in six weeks" he was seeing his brother. It suggests that the poet only had the fleeting memory of his brother as a baby and hardly ever sees him, therefore contributing largely to the fact that the poet was not grieving over his death because of their "stranger-ed" relationship. Notice the emjambment in line 12 "held my hand/in hers". It suggests that the poet was just as detached from his mother as his brother.
The corpse was "starnched and bandaged", in an effort to stop the bleeding, yet could this have been internal injury, as seen from the "poppy bruise" and "no gaudy scars" or could it be because he was bound so tightly?
"Snowdroops/and candles soothed the bedside" -> The poet is attempting to make the affair seem less harsh, more pleasant, more peaceful, more pleasant.
Notice the title "Mid-Term Break". Notice that you only return from college at the END of the term and not midway. Therefore, it suggests that the poem likens the death of his brother to that of a holiday, a day when he could get away from schoolwork, a day that he can enjoy. This contributes to the theme of distanced family relationship where he views his brother's death as a break from work, as a holiday for him to enjoy.

| Posted on 2009-11-15 | by a guest


.: :.

This poem explains and examines the grief of Heaney's younger brother's death. Throughout the poem the most haunting aspect is the tone and atmosphere created. The reference to his brothers remians as 'a corpse' creates an impersonal relationship showing the srtuggle for acception. The poem ends with acceptance and grieving. 'A four foot box, a foot for every year' illustrates the innocence and short time of his brother. There are links between life and death. The death and scene of moarning people are contrasted with the 'baby cooed and laughed and rocked in the pram' an uncomfortable line using the tragedy with new life. Heaney also speaks of fathers grief. In conjuction with his other poems such as 'digging' and 'follower' the strong man portrayed in these are broken down and shown at his weakest.

| Posted on 2009-08-03 | by a guest




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