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ÐŽoMid-Term BreakÐŽ±: Confusion And The Atmosphere

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Ordinarily poems about death are rather straightforward and predictable before the end. ÐŽoMid-Term Break,ÐŽ± by Seamus Heaney, however, handles this subject in a manner that allows the reader to feel the gloomy atmosphere and sympathize with the experience. Heaney illustrates time flow, atmosphere, and confusion through his use of structure, objective uses and contrast of language; he brings the reader into the poem to more fully experience the event.

Heaney uses detached and unemotional language to portray the places he passes through by dragging the time flow. The opening stanza begins with ÐŽomorning,ÐŽ±(1) but it is already ÐŽotwo oЎЇclock,ÐŽ±(3), indicating several hours have passed while the speaker waits in the infirmary. After the neighbors drive the speaker home, he moves to ÐŽothe porch,ÐŽ±(4) and then into the house. ÐŽoAt ten oЎЇclockÐŽ±(14) and ÐŽoNext morning,ÐŽ±(16) suggest that speaker was severely shocked that he got a feeling of numbness rather than sadness and had slept rather than staying up all night. The reader now gets a feeling that Heaney is being unemotional regarding time and places passed by the speaker. This affects the mood of the poem, and emphasizes sadness.

Since death is can be sad, Heaney treats it as a heavy and serious event: He sketches the gloomy atmosphere of the funeral in an unusual way, by using contrasting. In first stanza, Heaney uses readerЎЇs general concept of school bell. ÐŽoCounting bells knelling classes to a close,ÐŽ±(2) sets the tone for the poem. The knelling bell sounds like a funeral bell, which is a contrast from what reader usually think of school bell; joyful because it tells the end of school day. This knelling foreshadows what is going to happen later in the poem. Another contrasting Heaney uses is contrast of scenes. The second stanza begins ÐŽoI met my father crying,ÐŽ±(4) which is in contrast to ÐŽoHe had always taken funerals in his stride.ÐŽ±(5) By using contradiction, Heaney skillfully portrays how painful and sad the event is. Demonstrating the intensity at the emotion, the speakerЎЇs mother ÐŽocoughed out angry tearless sighs,ÐŽ±(13) implies that she no longer had the energy to shed tears. In contrast, ÐŽoThe baby cooed and laughed and rocked the pram,ÐŽ±(7) is very calm and full of peace, helping the reader feel deeper sorrow by picturing this in his or her mind. The description of the young boy lying in the room, ÐŽoSnowdrops/ And candles soothed the bedside,ÐŽ±(16-17) represent softness, calmness, and purity of the atmosphere. Heaney is suggesting that the boy is in a safe place now, after the accident. However, ÐŽoA four foot box, a foot for every year,ÐŽ±(22) makes the reader realize



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