The Forge by Seamus Heaney 1969
‘The Forge' is a sonnet with a clear division into an octave (the first eight lines) and a sestet (the final six lines). While the octave, apart from its initial reference to the narrator, focuses solely on the inanimate objects and occurrences inside and outside the forge, the sestet describes the blacksmith himself, and what he does. Heaney begins with the line All I know is a door into the dark. This can be interpreted as the blacksmith stepping out of reality; into the ignorance of darkness. As he steps through the door it brings him back in time via his memories, as can be seen in the next line as he goes on to tell of the old axles and iron hoops rusting outside. The adjectives old and rusting create the impression of age; that they have been affected by time. Heaney portrays the scene inside the hammered anvils short-pitched ring... He wants to depict to the reader what a true forge was like. Also, he creates the idea that the anvil was necessary and vital in metal production by describing the anvil as hammered. The writer attempts to prove to the reader how useful and, in turn, well used it was. The unpredictable fantail of sparks... Heaney uses this line to contrast with the order of today’s manufacture which is quite the opposite of his idyllic memory. He tries to persuade the reader that the forge, when in the height of its success, was a picturesque and almost perfect entity.
Hiss - Heaney uses the literary device of onomatopoeia throughout the poem. This is incredibly effective and, perhaps, unrivalled in its ability to incorporate the auditory sense into any piece of literature. This also portrays the noisy, busy environment of the forge. Furthermore, he uses hard and sharp vowels and consonants to further the illusion of authenticity. Another literary device used by Heaney is that of sibilance; this adds to the realism of the poem. Moreover, the use of the word toughens creates the impression of firmness and...
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