The Early Purges By Seamus Heaney: Comparative Essay

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Comparative Essay “Midterm Break” & “The Early Purges” By Seamus Heaney Seamus Heaney was an Irish poet, who grew up on a farm. He writes about his childhood, nature, and in two particular poems, explores the theme of growing up. Whilst the two poems, titled “The Early Purges” and “Midterm Break” are both sad and thought-provoking in equal measure, I think “Midterm Break” portrays this the best in its symbolism, and the tragedy of it. Midterm break is about young Heaney, aged only twelve or thirteen years old, coming home from boarding school for the spring midterm break. However, instead of being greeted with a happy welcome from his family, he is forced to grow up very quickly after the death of his very young baby brother. Told from young Heaney 's own perspective, this poem is absolutely heartbreaking in the way it explores the theme of growing up, as well as the theme of, of change, and of death itself. I am fond of this poem, and prefer it to “The Early Purges” because of how Heaney deals with the theme of death, showing effectively how it strikes at any time, striking anyone, with it simplicity and finality, which Heaney further compacts using the punctuation and poetic techniques in this poem.…show more content…
It opens with a disturbing image of a six-year-old Heaney witnessing the brutal death of several young kittens, drowned by Dan Taggart, a farm hand on the farm where he grew up. This is a harrowing image, and shocks us as soon as we see the opening line. While this is beyond heartbreaking, and a very sad poem, I simply prefer Midterm Break, due to the fact that the death of a child, a sibling, a close friend, is far more distressing and more relatable to more people, due to the fact that sadly nearly everyone will experience loss of a
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