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The Barn
Seamus Heaney
Emily Page, Alice Houbart and Izzy Perrin…read more

Slide 2

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The poem is Heaney's description of the barn within
his family's farm; he gives a detailed analysis of how
he viewed the barn when he was younger. The barn
is seen to be a place of nightmares. Throughout the
poem there is a fear of the barn with its cold dusty
floors and hidden creatures.
This can be related to the horror and panic created
by the children in `Blue Remembered Hills' when they
think that an `Itie prisoner' has escaped and is
coming to kill them. Moreover, Donald's tragic death
occurred in a barn fire.…read more

Slide 3

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Language, Structure and Form
This simile The left-overs of
portrays the ivory. `grit' harsh
Threshed corn lay piled like grit of ivory in contrast to the
the the
wall dark.corn beautiful and
`Musky' gives
creates, Or solid as cement in two-lugged sacks. expensive ivory.
the to the
adding Militaristic, an
danger of
of the The musky dark hoarded an armoury almost medieval
age and
situation. feel to it. Very
damp. The Of farmyard implements, harness, plough-socks. dangerous and
verb anxious, the
`hoarded' moment before
creates the the war
image of a The noun `implements' creates a
huge army medical feel, and could be
amassing on a associated with implements of
single location torture. It's very vague and
adding to the frightening, just as the night is.
sense of fear.…read more

Slide 4

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`Chilly concrete', the use of
alliteration emphasises the
`Mouse-grey'- Dull. Reference
harsh, cold floor and creates
to mouse is almost the same
an ominous feel
as rat: rodent, unclean,
The floor was mouse-grey, smooth, chilly concrete.
There were no windows, just two narrow shafts `narrow shafts' ­ two narrow
Trapped, lack of air, sun beams. This gives a sense
surrounded, no of hope, as if not all is lost
Of gilded motes, crossing, from air-holes slit
High in each gable. The one door meant no draughts
This sentence gives an even
`mote': tiny spec or particle more ominous tone as though
`gilded' golden `gable': fills the space beneath the room is still, no wind, no
These are the particles we see where the roof slopes meet. presence of the outside world
in the sun beams `high; untouchable, out of other than two tiny sun
reach beams.
Use of caesuras (the commas)
slows down the poem and
creates an eerie suspense.…read more

Slide 5

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Zinc used as a protective
Use of time again. Contrasts to coating for the implements.
the previous dark images `oven' hot, unbearable, hell-
like The use of three in this listing
portrays the vast amount of
objects that deceive him into
All summer when the zinc burned like an oven. thinking it's lovely and bright,
and then realising it is full of
`scythe' usually dust and horror.
associated with the
character Death. A scythe's edge, a clean spade, a pitch-fork's prongs
Incredibly sharp
blade, deadly
Slowly bright objects formed when you went in.
Then you felt cobwebs clogging up your lungs The use of alliteration at
`cobwebs clogging'
emphasises the utter disgust
and fear at his inability to
breath. Cobwebs are usually
associated with dirt and
horror. Clogging suggests his
voice is constricted by anxiety
adding to the sense of
claustrophobia.…read more

Slide 6

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`scuttled' very rat-like, brings
back his fear of rats and This transforms a building
disgust. This contrasts to the harmless in the day, into a
`sunlight yard' which sounds place of nightmares at night.
safe, well lit, happy This portrays child imagination
and the irrational fear of the
And scuttled fast into the sunlit yard -
We see here that the `bats' ­ very horror affiliated.
poem is beginning to Night is an immediately scary
increase in speed as we And into nights when bats were on the wing time for a child
see the use of
enjambment and the use
of the word `and' which
portrays a childish tone . Over the rafters of sleep, where bright eyes stared `bright eyes stared'
From a slow, anxious very strong
start, we now sense the syllables portray
child's growing fear as his
heart beats faster and
From piles of grain in corners, fierce, unblinking. his fear. The fact
they are staring
faster. gives them the
image of cruel,
`grain' usually a normal item waiting and poised
now is turned into the hiding to pounce on him
places for these cruel
creatures that are evidently
out to get him. `fierce,
unblinking' portrays their
intent on focusing on him
alone, fear, paranoia.…read more

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