Essay on Micro: Emotion and Heaney

Submitted By gracemalcolm09
Words: 1610
Pages: 7

Grace Malcolm
Mrs. Cordon
Pre-AP Literature 11 A3
3 April 2014
Rough Draft
Seamus Heaney was born and raised as a Catholic in Castledawson, County Derry, North Ireland, a nation that was primarily Protestant. As a poet from North Ireland he used his work to reflect the problems of the usually corrupted and violent political obstacles that polluted his country during his youth. (Christ 2788) Heaney’s work was always most concerned about the past. Seamus Heaney wrote to convey a message whether it be about love, nature, or death. A common theme depicted through his poems, “Casualty,” “Mid-Term Break” and “Funeral Rites” is death and decay which is delivered through his intense emotion. The poem “Casualty” was written in remembrance of Louis O’Neill who was killed during the conflicts having to do with the monstrous day in Irish history known as “Bloody Sunday”, although he remains anonymous in the poem. During the first two stanzas Heaney describes O’Neill drinking in a bar and having a slow, and carless demeanor. Stanza four continues into Heaney beginning to unravel harsh and sad descriptions of the funeral for those killed on “Bloody Sunday”: “Coffin after coffin/ Seemed to float from the door/ Of the packed cathedral/ Like blossoms on slow water/The common funeral/Unrolled in swaddling band/ lapping, tightening/ Till we were braced and bound/ Like brothers in a ring.” (51-59) These lines paint the image of people closely together, all in black, morning the lives of those lost, tightly in a ring formation around the grave. As their circle gets smaller, not only do they become closer physically but emotionally too as their loved ones pass. (Taylor 1) In stanza six O’Neill makes the conscious decision to disobey the curfew he was given by the Catholics to pursue his thirst for alcohol: “For he drank like a fish/ Nightly, naturally/ Swimming towards the lure / Of warm lit-up places” (71-74). O’Neil died while drinking in that bar during an explosion. By using the theme of death Heaney conveyed the message that everyone was innocent who was killed in the conflicts. “Like a war that people have been fighting so long that they forget what they are fighting about” (Taylor 1)
The poem “Mid-Term Break” was written about the death of Heaney’s younger brother. His name was Christopher and he was killed by a car at the age of four. The poem is full of emotion and is very moving as it presents an older brother struggling through the obstacles of having to deal with a horrific event like losing a sibling. Throughout this poem Heaney conveys manliness and tenderness at the same time which delivers a beautiful message. “This poem is powerfully moving because of its emotional restraint and control of tone” (Woods 1). In this poem Heaney gives a lot of information about his mother and father’s reactions to the youngest child’s death. In stanza two Heaney concentrates on his father’s emotional state as he is “crying”: “He had always taken funerals in his stride” (5) even though this death was “unnatural and personal.” (Woods 1) As stanza two continues “Big Jim Evens” comments with a horrible two meaning statement in line six and he says, “it was a hard blow” by recalling the impact the loss had on the family as well as the physical impact the car had on Christopher that killed him. The third stanza presents the baby’s innocence and happiness of seeing his older brother. (Woods 1) The baby’s innocence is captured through: “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 hand.” (9-11) Heaney continues and begins to concentrate on his mothers reaction to her child’s death. She does nothing but hold his little hand in hers as she: “coughed out angry tearless sighs.” (13) Here Heaney has showed us that she has cried so much that there is no more tears to cry, and is forced to just be angry at the drivers insensitiveness to avoiding