Ministry of Fear- Seamus Heaney Analysis

Topics: Poetry, Derry, Republic of Ireland Pages: 3 (909 words) Published: November 17, 2008
Using Ministry of fear and another appropriately selected poem explore the sense of place Heaney conveys with reference to the troubles in N.I, with particular reference to the effects of any political and social context and Heaney’s own views.

Ministry of Fear is from Heaney’s ‘North’ collection, written in 1975 while Heaney was staying in Wicklow, Casualty was written shortly after in ‘Field work’ in 1979. Through these two poems Heaney conveys a strong sense of place, namely Northern Ireland, through ‘Ministry of fear’ Heaney describes four events throughout his life in N.I that had a strong influence on him, ‘Casualty’ is similar but more focused on the Troubles in N.I and some of Heaney’s feelings towards those events.

‘Ministry of fear’ touches on four key moments in Heaney’s life, the first of which is his boarding at St Columbs, then a catholic boarding school in Derry. An experience he found to be very unfair and almost treacherous. “Sweeten my exile” Heaney describing it himself as exile, clearly he thought he was pressured into going perhaps when he didn’t want to. Secondly he describes his first flirtation with poetry and higher education at Queens University. This section is written in a very self deprecating tone and almost a hint of jealousy, He describes his Friend, Seamus Deane’s skill with the pen “vowels and ideas bandied free” and then mocks his own attempts, “hobnailed boots… Fine lawns of elocution” These statements are slightly bathetic and quite ironic, Heaney writing what was to be a highly acclaimed poem about his own poetic inabilities. He goes on to describe his first sexual encounters when he “came to life” in “the kissing seat of an Austin 16” this whole phrase resonates innocence and although this particular experience is important in any young mans life I think it is a deliberate ploy to stress the innocence he felt he had before the fourth memory. Which is Heaney’s experience with a crass RUC patrol, which seems to represent...
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