Mid Term Break Analysis

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Emily Dickinson’s “Because I could not stop for Death” and Seamus Heaney’s “Mid Term Break” explore the fascinating and mysterious, yet taboo topic of many cultures - death. “Because I could not” shares a powerful tale of Dickinson’s perception of accepting the next adventure after life, conveys the message that as much as death is unpredictable, it is inevitable and can’t be avoided. On the contrary, “Mid Term Break” shares an intensely autobiographical tragedy of the death of Heaney’s younger brother, as Heaney tries to deal with the terrible trauma, shown in its emotional restraint and control of tone. Through poetry, Heaney attempts to explain his grief, meanwhile Dickinson expresses her imagination of death.

The perspective of death contrasts greatly between the 2 poets. In “Mid Term Break”, Heaney is in denial to accept the fact that death has taken his brother away. In the last stanza, the word “cot” sound as though he was sleeping, and the metaphor “wearing” a bruise suggests the bruise could be removed, all implies that Heaney has trouble fully understanding the realities of the situation, the imagery highlights the horrors Heaney has to face as a young child. The final line, "A four foot box, a foot for every year", isolated from the rest of the poem, is where anger, sadness and grief is concentrated - the deliberate stress of the “f” sounds emphasis his anger at the waste of life, and somewhat sounds like imprecations, aggressive to a point which stands out
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