Seamus Heaney was born on the 13th April 1939, in Northern Ireland. He was a famous Irish poet and lecturer who died on the 30th August 2013 aged 74. This essay will focus on literary theories based on the poem Casualty from Heaney’s collection of poems entitled Field Work. Casualty is written in a narrative form with a narrator telling the story as well as his own opinions of the man in the story. “I loved his whole manner”. The man within the poem starts out as what can be considered a typical old Irish man who spent his evenings drinking in the local pub. On his walk home he is “blown to bits”. The poem was set in Belfast, Northern Ireland during the year that Bloody Sunday occurred. At this time there were major civil problems within Ireland that were impacted on the fact that The British had control over six counties in Northern Ireland. The theories that will be focused on in this essay will be New Historicism and Structuralism.
New Historicism is one of the newer theories used in the studies of literature. It is based on the idea that when studying a piece of literary text that the authors past should be taken into account. “New Historicism is the parallel reading of literary and non-literary texts, usually from the same historical period, where both are afforded equal weight” (Hehir, 8). The poem mentions a curfew that was in place in Belfast during this time. Some obeyed this curfew while others such as the man in this poem did not. The fact that he was out past