Midterm Break Analysis

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Midterm Break
By Seamus Heaney

"Midterm Break" is a happy, promising title that belies the experience of the narrator; the irony of a death in the family over midterm has robbed not only Heaney's joy in family nostalgia, but all his horror and grief as well. The ideas of death, grief, and finality are explored in this poem. As he encounters other mourners, each more intense than the next, his neighbors, his crying father, Jim Evans, an emotionally ravaged family friend. His tone takes on an aura of dismay. Heaney retreats emotionally at their hollow comforts.

Arriving home from school, being picked up by his neighbors, “At two o’ clock our neighbors drove me home”(3). He heard the devastating news that someone died in his family. Upon arriving home, “In the porch I met my crying father”(4), showed how death can causes so much trauma and confusion. His father crying,
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Heaney conveys the feeling of being unable to name the reality of the situation, “Next morning I went up into the room”(16). Although he did not directly said that is where his brother’s lying, he stress the atmosphere of the room, “And candles soothed the bedside, I saw him”(17). He also emphasizes how he did not see him for 6 weeks, unable to cohere the reality of his brother’s death; he uses “Paler” to convey his feelings, “For the first time in six weeks. Paler now,”(18).

On the last stanza, he was describing what the accident left his brother. His fragility causes bruises on his head, “Wearing a poopy bruise on his left temple,”(19). He may not have any other scars, but it was clear that the accident really did kill him. How for the last time, he sees him peacefully lying on his bed, he realized how life was too short, his brother who was only four years old, only had four years to enjoy his life is now gone, “He lay in the four foot box as in his cot. No gaudy scars, the bumper knocked him clear. A four foot box, a foot for every

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