Mid Term Break By Seamus Heaney Analysis

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How does the poet vividly portray the relationship between a parent and a child?
‘Follower’ is a poem about the Irish poet Seamus Heaney’s admiration of his father who is a farmer and is a poem about how one of Heaney’s brothers was hit by a car and killed. Both ‘‘Follower’’ and ‘Mid Term Break’ are very personal poems written from the first person and both convey a very intimate relationship between Heaney and his father. ‘Follower’ employs a handful of extended maritime imagery and communicates a very melancholy and bleak atmosphere. Mid Term Break has a very somber and tense atmosphere which heavily centered on funereal imagery allow Heaney to explain that his brother has died without explicitly saying so. The voice in both poems is Heaney’s
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Heaney describes his father as having ‘globed’ shoulders that are like a ‘full sail’. This tells the reader that in Heaney’s eyes his father is literally larger than life and therefore implies his admiration. This imagery also adds to the maritime theme and creates a sense of power for Heaney’s father. Heaney also describes the horses his father is controlling to be straining at the ‘clicking tongue’ which is an example of onomatopoeia. His father is also ‘mapping the furrow exactly’. These quotes shows that Heaney’s father is an expert at what he does and because he has picked up on these small actions we are able to deduce that Heaney is full of admiration and respect for his father. Heaney also realizes that his father ‘narrows’ his eyes towards the ground. This sort of squinting action is very small and discrete so the fact that Heaney has caught onto this implies that he is following every move his father makes to make sure he misses nothing. In the final stanza of ‘Follower’, Heaney and his father change roles. Heaney also realizes that his father ‘clicks’ at the horses to direct them. This shows that his father is an expert at what he does as he can control these large horses with such small inputs. This yet again shows that Heaney is keeping a very close eye on his father. Heaney brings the poem into the present tense which allows him to describe the changes between his father and himself. He is no longer tripping up and…show more content…
His father is no longer portrayed as a sort of (super) man but as somebody who is vulnerable and struggling to cope with the situation; he is showing emotions which is something he does not or is even arguably capable of doing in ‘Follower’. In this poem, Heaney’s father is described to be “crying” on the porch of Heaney’s home. Heaney is not crying in this scene which shows a small reverse of roles in contrast to ‘Follower’ between Heaney and his father. Heaney is the one being strong and coping with the situation whilst his father is crying and struggling to compose himself in these circumstances. Mid Term Break also has the introduction of Heaney’s mother who he described to have “held my hand” and to have “coughed out” angry and tearless sighs. This gives both Heaney’s mother and father a similar air, character and ability – or lack of one, to cope with the situation. This gives the poem a tense and emotional theme which is centered on loss and how to cope with such
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