Lament By Seamus Heaney Analysis

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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. In the third stanza, Heaney also mentions that “the baby cooed and laughed and rocked the pram”. Firstly, this line is written in iambic pentameter, giving a sense of rhythm as is associated with lullabies and rocking the pram. Heaney also uses onomatopoeia, specifically sounds that are cheerful, to break away from the extremely depressing tone of the whole poem. He expresses the baby’s innocence and blissful unawareness of the events that have reduced his father to tears and that have crippled
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In “Mid-Term Break”, Heaney describes the thoughts and feelings of the people that are described in the poem, from those distantly related to him to his immediate family who are lost for words at the prospect of the death of an extremely young member of the family. Symbols of masculinity, like the boy’s father and “Big Jim Evans”, are described before the weaker individuals such as the boy’s mother to shock and upset the reader, creating a sense of suspense and mystery, as well as to develop a sense of trauma and tragedy. Big Jim Evans especially says the event was a “hard blow”, to give a sense of how much the strong men are
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