Mid-Term Break By Seamus Heaney: Poem Analysis

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In the poem Mid-Term Break, Seamus Heaney explores the theme of death by expressing his family’s horrendous grief after the tragic accident that killed his four-year-old brother, Christopher. In contrast, the poem Because I Could Not Stop for Death, Emily Dickinson personifies death as a gentlemen, who courteously takes her on a carriage ride around her whole life, eventually concluding it at her grave. Dickinson and Heaney vividly convey the theme of death in a contrasting manner due to the different context and perspectives Seamus Heaney poignantly expresses the idea of death in the loss of his brother in a car accident through structural choices. There are eight stanzas in the poem, the concluding stanza having only one line. The six…show more content…
Personification is a signature device used in the poem, and this can be seen from the capitalized ‘Death’ and the capitalized ‘Immortality’. Death is personified as a civil suitor in the poem, and the poet’s vision on death and her diction with the title are comprehensible since death is inevitable, and will always be waiting for the victim. Symbolism is also used in the poem. We passed the school, where children stove at recess - in the ring – we passed the fields of gazing grain – we passed the setting sun.’ This stanza neatly symbolizes the three main stages of life: childhood, adulthood, and age. The first stage is symbolized, obviously, by the children themselves at the school; the second stage is pictured as a harvest, as life ripens towards full maturity; and finally, there is the reference to the setting sun, which represents the closing of life. The speaker passes all three stages of life to her final stopping-point: the grave. Emily Dickinson’s view on death as a personified courteous suitor and Seamus Heaney’s view on death as a terrible bitter experience are both understandable as a reader. I assume both poets are influenced by personal experience, however I prefer Heaney’s vision, because it is realistic and can be empathized with as a

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