Mid-Term Break Essay

Topics: Poetry, Character, Seamus Heaney Pages: 4 (1680 words) Published: May 22, 2013
The poem 'Mid-Term Break' by Seamus Heaney is a first person ballad concerning the death of a boy’s 4-year-old brother while he was away at boarding school, and the individual reactions of each of his family members towards the tragedy. Poet Seamus Heaney did well at taking the extremely heavy subject of a child’s death, and producing a substantially lighter poem that still resonated the right emotions for the theme of the poem.

In my opinion, 'Mid-Term Break' can be broken up into three different sections. The first of these sections includes Stanza 1, where the boy is still at school. The first section of the poem describes the main character waiting in the sick bay for someone to drive him home, which tells the reader that something bad has happened before the poem has begun, because the main character is being sent home because of some kind of misfortune or tragedy.

The second section of 'Mid-Term Break' is the largest, and lasts from stanza two to stanza five. This section is also the darkest and most vibrant in imagery of the poem. The second section talks about the boy being greeted by a house full of strangers after the death of his younger brother, and the different ways each of his family members are handling the situation. The tone changes from section one to a deeper, more sad feel, as the writer is describing things like the main characters father crying, and old men offering their condolences to a child. Stanzas two, three and four develop the storyline in the form of the writer leading the reader through the house, as the main character is made uneasy by things like his father crying, the baby laughing in the pram, and people whispering about him. Stanza five is where the poem begins to explain the tragedy, through the last two lines "at ten o'clock the ambulance arrived, with the corpse, stanched and bandaged by the nurses."

The third part of the poem is begins at stanza six and goes all the way until the finish. This part,...
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