Seamus Heaney's Midterm Break

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If the text had been written in a different time or place or language or for a different audience, how and why might it differ?
Heaney from a Hindu Perspective

Seamus Heaney’s iconic poem, Midterm Break, is enormously moving as it explores how an older brother confronts the traumatic situation of his younger brother’s death during the Wake. Wake is a ceremony where the last rites are performed in front of the deceased body (The Wake). The ideas of Catholicism and Irish Traditions is exceptionally prominent throughout the poem. Conversely, how would another type of audience be it from a different race, religion or generation, react to this poem? This poem has a recurring motif of death and this motif is one that is significantly important in
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Heaney uses a detached tone to elaborate on the character’s attitude towards his brother’s death; however, it is not implied that he did not feel the grief; rather his tone of restraint solidifies the intensity of his grief and burden he felt being hit by such an unexpected trauma. He was “embarrassed” around the people present during the wake, which shows that his feeling of embarrassment replaced over the common notion associated with expressing sadness; to cry. He heard his mother’s “tearless sighs” with equanimity. The poet mentions, “I was the eldest” which only solidifies the emotional barrier as it imposes more burdens on his shoulders and his heart. Without any betrayal of despair, he announced that his brother’s body was “stanched and bandaged” which provides, a visual imagery of a newly packed present for the readers and just as there are “gaudy scars” on the child’s body, there is no emphasis upon the display of grief. In order to exemplify the tone further, Heaney refrained from informing the readers about the vigil that follows. In contrast, however, Hindus’ social norm is to wail in front of the relatives and friends of the departed soul. Hindu customs differ in that they believe in letting their emotions out, like the father, whom rather than holding back their emotions express them more openly.…show more content…
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