Analysis Of Heaney's Mid-Term Break

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In the poem, “Mid-Term Break,” Seamus Heaney speaks about a family tragedy, the death of his younger brother Christopher. He tries to explain an emotion that is weird and hard to articulate, and that is grief. Heaney uses a detached tone to attempt to describe it, the tone represents how challenging grieving actually is. With a funeral, there are made up “roles” everyone which the death affects follow. This family, and others are not following any sort of script. After the death of Heaney’s brother, he is forced to grow up, and is all of a sudden treated as an adult. He does not know how to act with this new responsibility.
This detached tone Heaney uses through his poem helps the reader understand how he and his family was feeling, and how
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“He lay in the four foot box as in his cot. The bumper knocked him clear. A four foot box, a foot for every year” (Heaney seven-eight stanza), this has a nonchalant type of feel to it, which is weird, there isn’t a predominant emotion expressed here. For someone to say “a foot for every year,” that itself just represent detachment, it is an odd thing to come to mind when seeing someone in their death bed. For saying this, the reader cannot say that he didn’t love his sibling, or that they were not connected, this is his own way to comprehend on what is happening around him. He may actually be upset, or feeling guilty for not seeing his brother for six weeks while he was attending school. It may not have changed anything, but a guilt feeling may be present in Heaney for not seeing the sibling sooner before the death. Heaney also made a connection with the reader during this part of the poem, mostly everyone can relate in not seeing a sibling for a long period of time. Another instance is when the ambulance arrives with Christopher, Heaney does not call him by his name, or even by “my brother,” he uses the term corpse. Corpse is a weird and strange word to use, someone would not …show more content…
Heaney’s parents are not following their pre made roles, they are going against the script. Lets start with Heaney’s father, by the second stanza he is already clashing with the patriarchal image of a father. Usually, when people think of a father, they visualize strength, support, and comfort. “In the porch I met my father crying,” (Heaney stanza two). Fathers are allowed to shed tears during a funeral, that is not uncommon, but his father is shutting himself away. The father is distancing him away from his friends, and family, he’s alone on the porch, experiencing his own private grieving. He isn’t showing any support to his wife, or to Heaney himself, he’s just alone. A mother is usually the one that is shedding the most tears, and looking for support in others. Not Heaney’s mother, yes, she is finding support in Heaney himself by holding his hand, but she is mad. She “coughed out angry tearless sighs” (stanza five), she is not showing any sadness, or remorse about the death of one of her sons, she is just angry. Yet again, another emotional expression that is not usually shown at a funeral. Overall, the father is being very emotionally distant, while the mother is furious at the

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