The first five stanzas of the poem revolve around the speaker’s emotional turmoil via various literary techniques throughout the poem. The onomatopoeia “knelling” is the sound of a bell ringing, especially in funerals, foreshadowing death and creating an ominous atmosphere. Elements of guilt appear as the speaker is described to be “embarrassed” as old men stood up to shake his hand and “whispers” secretly informed the visitors that the speaker was the eldest son and that he was “away at school” as if it was a secret. This implies that the speaker felt ashamed and guilty by the fact that he was absent his brother died. Just as disoriented he is, the speaker is shown to keep a cruel distance from “the corpse” as he fails to come to an acceptance of his death.
Gillian Clarke’s “Lament” and Seamus Heaney’s “Mid-Term Break” are both very poignant poems that convey a sense of depression and tragedy. Both poems are based on real-life tragedies: while “Lament” is an elegy for the unprecedented loss of life and nature in war (specifically the Gulf War), “Mid-Term Break” describes Heaney’s experiences and the feelings of people that are close to him in the event of his younger brother’s untimely death. In “Mid-Term Break”, Heaney makes good use of sound imagery to breathe life into the poem and to convey a sense of melancholy. In the beginning of the poem, Heaney mentions hearing “bells knelling classes to a close”, ringing as if they were funeral bells instead of normal school bells. This gives a sense of the narrator’s sombre thoughts of death.
The sense of tragedy is also from his treatment by his family, but also, his death. He was a young boy who was forced to use power tools by his family and as a result of that he did lose not only his hand but his childhood because of his sudden death which you can see when the poem says “The doctor put him in the dark of ether. He lay and puffed his lips out with his breath. And then - the watcher at his pulse took a fright. No one believed.
From the opening line of the poem the reader can again tell that this is a poem remembering someone who has died; “His shirts hung in the wardrobe” (Heaney, 12). The past tense of “hung” indicates to reader that the man the shirts belong to is no longer here. There is also a certain reverence to the way Heaney uses the pronoun “His” when talking about the contents of his father’s wardrobe. Unlike in “The door was open and the house was dark”, Heaney seems more composed and at terms his fathers death in this poem. Heaney primarily engages with death and loss in this poem through his use of sensuous imagery.
In particular, his father whom always ‘stride funerals’ suggesting that he is used to it, even suffers the pain of losing his son. Therefore, cries and was not able to cope with the sudden death. Taking this further, Heaney also suffers from this event and did not believe that his brother really had died. The use of word ‘corpse’ suggest that Heaney did not think the body he see is his younger brother did not believe that his younger brother had already past away and the fact that he failed attempts to save him. However, when Heaney is alone with the body, Heaney recognizes that the body is his own brother and admits his emotional attachment.
When death occurs everyone is heartbroken and they try to give their condolences to the affected family. In The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian Arnold states, “When it comes to death we know that laughter and tears are pretty much the same. We said goodbye to my grandmother… Each funeral was a funeral for all of us. We lived and died together”. (pg.166) Tears and laughter are strong emotions when something unexpected happens in our lives.
First, by commenting on the father’s subjective reality as his mental state suffers post-tragedy. In accordance with Bordwell 's essay, “violations of the classical conceptions of time and space are justified [...] as the subjective reality of complex characters”. Since losing his family, the father’s life is a jumbled combination of reality and memory. The mixing of scenes with and without the rest of his family comments on his deteriorating grip on reality and inability to focus on the present. Certain scenes from the film are also repeated like the conversation about picking up Jeremih or the jump cut of the husband and wife’s kiss goodbye.
He is looking at the death of his brother in a sudden car accident, from the perspective of a child himself. Remember by Christina Rossetti has a conflicting theme of love and death: “remember me when I am gone away” and she continues to battle with it throughout the entire poem. Similarly The Voice by Thomas Hardy is a remembrance of his departed wife and he is full of remorse for the way that their relationship had developed in the later years: “can it be you that I hear?” It conveys his feeling of regret and confusion about his wife’s death. On the other hand, Do not go gentle into that good night by Dylan
Mid-Term Break (1966) is one of the selected poems in Seamus Heaney’s book, Death of a Naturalist (1966) in which he impacts the readers in a stunning manner through literary devices and vivid imagery. Heaney effectively incorporates his Irish culture into the poem, emphasizing the time and place in which the poem takes place. The focus of this poem is the death of Heaney’s younger brother Christopher, who was killed in a terrible car accident at the young age of four. In the poem, Heaney chooses to focus on the reaction of his parents and the atmosphere around him in order to convey the shocking impact of the death, as well as create order within himself. Although from a child’s perspective, Heaney’s voice is strong and pierces through the poem and it’s lyrical and elegiac tone makes this poem especially powerful and moving, creating a sense of grief and sympathy within the readers.
When the classes finally come to and end, the college students neighbor took him home to a house full of mourning adults. These adults made the fourteen year old student feel old by the condolences they offer. After watching his father cry on the porch and his mother “cough out angry tearless sighs,” the student went up to the room and saw his four year old brothers corpse lying in a box with a bruise on his temple (Line 13). The bruise on the forehead is a reference that the death was caused by an impact of a car, which is actually how his own brother