Seamus Heaney- Mid-Term Break

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What is the poem about?
The subject of this autobiographical poem is the death of Seamus Heaney’s younger brother, who was killed by a car at the age of four.
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Briefly summarise the key points in the poem's structure.
Free verse, sombre, rhyme in last two lines, simple lexis.
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What are some of the themes explored in this poem?
Finality, time and childlike innocence.
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Why is the title ambiguous?
May mean a break from school, a broken relationship or the thread of the boy's life.
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Summarise the key features of the first stanza.
'College sick bay'- onomatopoeia, isolation. 'Knelling'- church bell. 'two o' clock'- numerical language.
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Summarise the key features of the second stanza.
'-'- can't finish. 'had always'- not normal roles, roles have been switched and the father is taking the emotional role, child's role is always the same. 'hard blow'- emotional/physical.
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Summarise the key features of the third stanza.
'cooed'- out of place, achronistic. 'embarrassed'- child's honesty.
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Summarise the key features of the fourth stanza.
'sorry for my trouble'- euphemism. 'Whispers'- participant, not passive, secrecy. 'hand/in hers'- enjambment.
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Summarise the key features of the fifth stanza.
'angry tearless sighs'- pathos. 'ten o' clock'- finality, specifics, long day. 'corpse'- first time we realise he's dead, denial?
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Summarise the key features of the sixth stanza.
Snowdrops/And candles'- Transferred epithet. 'First time'- guilt, unnatural eruption.
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Summarise the key features of the seventh stanza.
'poppy bruise'- symbol, metaphor, something so small and pretty like a flower could do so much damage, can't see why he died. 'no gaudy scars'- no sign of violence, childhood innocence.
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Why is the last line of the poem significant?
Unusually final for Heaney's work, iambic pentameter, rhymes with previous line, signing off child's life, structurally alone to make a statement, shows us how young he was.
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Other cards in this set

Card 2

Front

Briefly summarise the key points in the poem's structure.

Back

Free verse, sombre, rhyme in last two lines, simple lexis.

Card 3

Front

What are some of the themes explored in this poem?

Back

Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4

Front

Why is the title ambiguous?

Back

Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5

Front

Summarise the key features of the first stanza.

Back

Preview of the front of card 5
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