Common Themes In Poetry Essay

3677 words - 15 pages

Common Themes in Poetry

After reading and analysing numerous poems, I have chosen two examples
of the famous Irish Poet, Seamus Heaney's work: 'Follower' and
'Mid-Term Break'. Both poems relate to the poet's past, and are
certainly associated with a specific 'loss' of a loved one - one a
literal loss, and the other a subconscious loss.

'Mid-Term Break', which I found to be a very touching and poignant
poem, describes the loss of the poet's younger brother, Christopher
when Heaney was a child, hence the poem is of a childhood tragedy as
well as a loss. It's set in three places - the introduction is
situated in the college sick bay; the main body of the poem is set in
Heaney's brother's funeral, and the final setting is the small child's
bedroom. The poet is awaiting his neighbours' car in the college sick
bay, as they're going to escort him to the funeral. Evidence is given
of 'death' in the second line: -

"Counting bells knelling classes to a close"

This metaphorical sentence creates a morbid atmosphere from the
out-set, and the alliteration and hard consonants suggest that the
'wait' for his neighbours' car is excruciatingly long and daunting
which underlines two things - childhood impatience and the fact that
something is troubling him. 'Change' is sensed here also due to the
fact that his neighbours are driving him home - as we know, the
negative change is Christopher's death. Within the aspect of 'change',
this is merely the 'tip of the iceberg', as many more unfamiliar
experiences await him.

The 'child's prospective' is cleverly brought into the second, third,
fourth and fifth stanzas as a consequence of the poet's confusion and
the contradictive scenes he witnesses as he walks into the family
home. Firstly, he sees his father, a steady and strong figure breaking
down in the porch: -

"I met my father crying -

He had always taken funerals in his stride"

Heaney must've been confused with dread as to what was before him; if
his father, one of his childhood heroes was crying, what on Earth was
he himself going to do? Also, we acknowledge that this isn't just any
ordinary funeral - someone very dear has been lost, a small treasure;
a small treasure who's absence has caused the strongest of rocks to
crumble into an emotional state.

A double meaning is presented in the final line of the second stanza:

"Big Jim Evans saying it was a hard blow"

The 'hard blow' may be referring to the actual 'blow' that killed
Christopher (as he was killed by a car), or the fact that it's a 'hard
blow' to the family. Either way, one fact becomes apparent: the Heaney
family have the support and love of everyone around them, but that
doesn't counteract for the tragic loss of Christopher - it may help
clean the wound, but the scar will forever be visible. We also attain
the knowledge, due to his very 'personal' identity, that Big Jim Evans
is a family friend, and that he himself is shaken by the...

Find Another Essay On Common Themes in Poetry

Discussion of common themes in Sonnets 65, 104 and 116

1047 words - 4 pages Shakespeare is generally regarded as one of the greatest playwrights who ever lived who also had great skill in creating beautifully poignant poetry. His great masterpieces include the 154 sonnets written in 16th century England. Although it is unknown if he wrote these sonnets in the order that they are numbered, it is recognised that the majority of the first 126 sonnets were addressed to the Earl of Southampton, his patron and social superior

Common Themes in Crime and Punishment and The Brothers Karamazov

2411 words - 10 pages humanity. His theories concerning the causes and effects of these situations are evident throughout each of his works in a clear and precise manner. Despite the fourteen-year gap between the first of his novels, Crime and Punishment, and the last, The Brothers Karamazov, the parallel thematic elements in Dostoevsky's writings remained constant. The themes that exist in both these novels are alike and undeniably characteristic of Dostoevsky. Both

Conflicting Themes in The Poetry of W. B. Yeats

1447 words - 6 pages In analysing the poetry of W.B. Yeats, I have come to understand the multiple conflicting themes and positions he presents in his poetry. However, my understanding has been influenced most by Yeats’s exploration of key conflicts in ageing along with political anarchy. These are conveyed respectively in the poems “Wild Swans at Coole” (1916) and “Leda and the Swan” (1923), using the central symbol of the swan. In “Wild Swans at Coole”, Yeats

Common Themes in Secret Sharer, Heart of Darkness, and Shadow Line

830 words - 3 pages Common Themes in The Secret Sharer, Heart of Darkness, and The Shadow Line   Joseph Conrad's stories The Secret Sharer, Heart of Darkness, and The Shadow Line share a number of themes. All three stories deal with a process of maturing that involves the loss of youthful illusions, a process usually precipitated by an actual "trial" that challenges the protagonist's professional skills as well as his assumptions about his identity

Common Themes in To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

870 words - 4 pages The death of a black man, the attack of two children, and a man locked up for so long he cannot remember what life was like before all seem unrelated, however they are not. They are all examples of a common theme throughout the book To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, victims of what a main character implores his kids not to do. In To Kill a Mockingbird, two plotlines coincide; two children, Scout and Jem Finch are growing up with a

Common Themes in Steinbeck's Cannery Row and East of Eden

1448 words - 6 pages Cannery Row follows a group of unemployed boys that mostly steal what they need to live off of. Lee Chong, the grocer, lets Mack and the boys stay in a meal shack that they turn into their home, even though he knows they will never pay him rent. The boys show their appreciation to Lee Chong by no longer stealing from his grocery store. The boys also want to do something nice for Doc, who lives across the street from them. They plan to give

In the following essay, I will examine the development of Plath's poetry through analysis of major themes and imagery found in her description of landscapes, seascapes, and the natural world

6579 words - 26 pages Sylvia Plath's Psychic LandscapesIn the following essay, I will examine the development of Plath's poetry through analysis of major themes and imagery found in her description of landscapes, seascapes, and the natural world.Following the lead of Ted Hughes, critics today tend to read Sylvia Plath's poetry as a unity. Individual poems are best read in the context of the whole oeuvre: motifs, themes and images link poems together and these

Common Masculine Themes of Superheroes Explained in Complex Masculinities: The Superhero in Modern American Movies

1449 words - 6 pages Complex Masculinities: The Superhero in Modern American Movies attempts to encapsulate the essential elements that make masculinities complex by means of mass media. The question of where and why superheroes have held such a salient position in the last decade is aroused when it is media who is the deciding factor in institutionalizing masculinity. When looking at the surface of a superhero movie, dominant hegemonic characteristics are the

Common Themes in Of Mice and Men and The Grapes of Wrath

1349 words - 6 pages , including the separation and death of family members, the thin chance of employment, and the ill treatments from the rich Californian farm owners. Some of the recurring themes, shared by both novels, are humans’ inhumanity towards others, the powerful nature of relationships and the impossibility of the American Dream. In both novels, humans display inhumanity towards each other, even though some of them are the victims of this predatory nature

A Biography of Roald Dahl: Common Themes in His Writings And How They Are Reflective of Childhood Experiences

2082 words - 8 pages he himself was forced to overcome. Tragedy in the family, negativity towards figures of authority, orphans, and absent parental figures are among many of the intertwined themes in his novels. Whether positive or negative, at least one character in each of his novels mimics one person who had an effect on his life.There was a great deal tragedy that occurred in Dahl's family while he was growing up, and while he was a parent as well. It all began

Carl Sandburg: Poet, Artist and Contemporary Visionary of the 20th Century. Focuses on his life, his accomplishments and themes

2434 words - 10 pages ). Although the poetry themes were completely together, you can know see why the two are so similar. Carl Sandburg began the trend in the early 1900's of free prose poetry but Whitman was the leading light; the only thing that separates them is the theme and trend that Sandburg created.Growing up poor, going to war, and working in the Midwest have all contributed to Sandburg's free-prose writing trend towards the common man and the need for him to

Similar Essays

Common Themes In American Literature Essay

636 words - 3 pages Common Themes in American Literature Common Themes throughout American Literature Many authors contributed to American literature between 1865 and 1914. Although these authors came from all over the country and lived different life styles, they still managed to include similar themes in their works. A theme is considered to be the main idea of the work, or a meaning behind the story. Within this period of American literature

Themes Of Love And Loss In Poetry

1974 words - 8 pages Themes of Love and Loss in Poetry In this essay, we are going to analyse five poems to study the way love and loss are treated in the pre-nineteenth century poems, "So, we'll go no more a roving" and "When we two parted" by Lord Byron, "Sonnet 116" by William Shakespeare, "How do I love thee?" by Elizabeth Barrett-Browning and "Remember" by Christina Rossetti. After looking at the level of implication of each of the

Explorations Of Themes In War Poetry

3964 words - 16 pages Explorations of Themes in War Poetry Before World War One, war was seen as glorious and honourable. These attitudes are reflected in the phrase Dulce Et Decorum Est Pro Patria Mari, translated this means that it is sweet and fitting to die for your country. It was a firm belief that everyman should fight for his country. However, World War One changed this attitude that people had, as they had seen the effects of war on

Common Themes And Elements In Psycho And The Birds

811 words - 4 pages The two films Psycho and The Birds, both directed by Alfred Hitchcock, share similar themes and elements. These recurring themes and elements are often prevalent in many of Hitchcock’s works. In Psycho and The Birds, Hitchcock uses thematic elements like the ideal blonde woman, “the motherly figure”, birds, and unusual factors that often leave the viewer thinking. Hitchcock’s works consist of melodramatic films, while also using pure cinema to