Mid-Term Break- Critical Evaluation

Topics: Death, Poetry, Metaphor, Simile, Sadness, Seamus Heaney / Pages: 8 (1873 words) / Published: Jun 19th, 2006
Critical Essay-Poetry
"Mid-Term Break"
Darren Parker

Séamus Heaney's "Mid-Term Break" is among the few poems that have emotionally moved me. The writer uses many techniques including similes, metaphors and beautiful lexical choice to convey the sombre and miserable situation of his brother's death. In this essay I am going to analyse the language of the poem and discuss, in more detail, the techniques used to convey the real sadness of the situation.

"Mid-Term Break" is a very emotive poem in which Séamus Heaney reflects on the untimely demise of his little brother Christopher and explains what was going through his mind at that time. The poem's title suggests a holiday but this "break" does not happen for pleasant reasons. For most of the poem Heaney writes of people's differing reactions and at the end he is able to grieve honestly. In the poem Heaney travels home from school to attend the funeral of his 4-year old brother who was killed in a tragic accident. During the funeral Heaney is confronted with many issue's that make him feel uneasy while he still struggles to come to terms with the incident that stands before him: the death of his little brother!

In this poem, the writer uses many techniques to express the misery of the situation. The writer uses effective word choice in the first stanza.

"I sat all morning in the college sick bay
Counting bells knelling classes to a close"

Here we can see that the word "all" suggests that Heaney's time waiting seems intermiable which adds to the sadness of the situation. Furthermore the "counting" of the bells advocates that Heaney is bored but also implies that he is desperate to leave school which creates a very tense atmosphere. In addition the word "knelling" ironically suggests a funeral bell, rather than a bell for lessons. I think the opening of the poem has a great effect on us as tension is created and we get an idea that something horrific has happened but we do not know what.

The poet

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