Mid-Term Break

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‘Mid-Term Break’ and ‘Death of a Naturalist’ are two of the many poems expressing the motif of death and change through reflecting on the life of Seamus Heaney. ‘Mid-Term Break’ is a poem that highlights a dreary event in the early years of his life, the death of his brother. The poem explores the emotional aspect of the lead up and impact of the experience on him and his parents. The poem highlights the briefness of life and that there is ultimately an end to everything. Focusing on the importance of cherishing every moment of life with loved ones. Whereas, ‘Death of a Naturalist’ looks intimately at his passion towards nature during the early years of his life. Both poems effectively portray the theme of change and how one may eventually come to acceptance.
The themes of death and change originally occur in ‘Mid-Term Break’ through misplacement and confusion. The misplacement and
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The reader experiences a change in tone as time progresses. When he goes up to the room the next day, “Snowdrops / And candles soothed the bedside”. “Snowdrops” work as a metaphor representing the first flower after winter. This expresses the idea of new hope and regeneration, as well as the idea of acceptance of his brother’s death. As a result, the narrator has come to a conclusion that the heart of the funeral was not about time off school and shaking hands, but instead saying goodbye to a loved one.
Likewise, in ‘Death of a Naturalist’ a change in attitude also occurs comparable to ‘Mid-Term Break’. In the beginning of the poem the speaker is an enthusiastic naturalist whom enjoys exploring and organizing nature. The process from which tadpoles mature into frogs serves as a foil for the theme of growth and maturity in the narrator. The same could be said of nature through the use of the words “festered”, “rotted” and “clotted” which foreshadow the negative aspects of
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