Human Chain Heaney Analysis

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In a review of Human Chain, Maria Johnston comments on the way in which Heaney's poetry centers on ‘sadness and loss'. With this comment in mind, write a close critical analysis of one poem you have studied from this volume. In the series ‘Album' Heaney creates a sensuous group of word pictures, which almost mimics the way in which a photo album is set out. In these word pictures, we can detect moments of anguish and regret. In many poems in this volume, time and place are very specifically evoked. ‘Album I' begins inside the house but then the poet takes us back into the past to a specific day spent with his parents on the top of ‘Grove Hill'. The mention of ‘Grove Hill', an actual place, makes it more substantive and authentic. The poem is set in the natural world, the world in which he was always most comfortable.…show more content…
He reminisces about his parents and a particular memory suddenly but exactly evokes the time and place and is vividly recalled. Then Heaney swiftly moves within the poem from one memory to another. Time has dimmed his memory and so Heaney uses axillary verbs, such as ‘it must have been' and ‘could have been Grove Hill', which indicates his uncertainty. He rejoices again in the open-air freedom of the ‘airy Sundays' when he stood on a hill looking out over the view of ‘Magherafelt's four spires in the distance.' The use of this shows a strong visual image of the church and provides a sense of authenticity. As a small child, he stood ‘shin-deep in bluebells'. This image is vivid in its visual and sensual experience. It is almost as if we can imagine ourselves standing where Heaney would have
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