Analysis of "Mid-Term Break" by Seamus Heaney

Topics: Poetry, Rhyme, Alliteration Pages: 2 (642 words) Published: March 14, 2011
“Mid-Term Break”, by Seamus Heaney, is a free-verse poem that portrays the event in which the speaker, who came back from boarding school, deals with the loss of a younger brother. Themes:
In this poem there are several important themes such as time, age, family, pain, love and most of all death. Death is an awkward subject that most want to avoid in life but it is also one that dominates people lives the most. We live because we don’t want to die. However there are times when unexpected death occurs, and in those times it’s the victim’s family that suffers the most. This poem takes the audience along on the speaker’s journey to accepting his beloved little brother’s death. Though family, age and love seems to be opposites of death and pain, one side cannot exist without the other. Therefore, in this poem family, love and age are all crucial themes. Imagery:

The author used a number of imagery to depict the themes of the poem. In these imageries, Heaney challenges not only the audience’s visual imagery but as well as auditory, olfactory as well as emotional imagery. For example: “Counting bells knelling classes to a close”, “the corpse, stanched” and “candles soothed the bedside.” Throughout the poem, Seamus Heaney only used simile once to compare the coffin to a cot, “He lay in the four foot box as in a cot.” Form and Structure:

This poem is organised with three lines per stanza, almost like an unrhymed tercet with the exception of the last line. This structure make the last line stand out more so than the rest which shows the readers the importance of this line. Rhyme and Rhythm:

In this poem there is no specific rhythm or rhyme pattern. However the last word in the poem rhymes with the last word in the stanza before. As mentioned before, Heaney used structure to outline the importance of the last line, but poems are often not read but heard and so this rhyme allows listeners to notice the emphasis on the last line. Language Patterns:...
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