Mid-Term Break Essay

1681 Words May 6th, 2013 7 Pages
The poem 'Mid-Term Break' by Seamus Heaney is a first person ballad concerning the death of a boy’s 4-year-old brother while he was away at boarding school, and the individual reactions of each of his family members towards the tragedy. Poet Seamus Heaney did well at taking the extremely heavy subject of a child’s death, and producing a substantially lighter poem that still resonated the right emotions for the theme of the poem.

In my opinion, 'Mid-Term Break' can be broken up into three different sections. The first of these sections includes Stanza 1, where the boy is still at school. The first section of the poem describes the main character waiting in the sick bay for someone to drive him home, which tells the reader that
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The third section also ties up the poem, as it takes the storyline from the previous waiting at school to grieving with his family, and finishes with a simple explanation of the tragedy, and brief feeling of regret that the boy didn't spend more time with his brother.

A Mid-Term Break usually means holidays, time off school or fun, which is the complete opposite to the themes of the poem. Although the title suggests that the poem is going to be revolving around a holiday, the reader soon discovers that the poem is dealing with a much darker subject, a death in the family. In the opening part of the poem there is a worrying atmosphere, which for me is clear through the line "knelling classes to a close." This line suggests that the main character hasn't been made aware of what has happened, but leads the reader to imagine that whatever has happened, cannot be good.

The second section is where the reader knows that someone has died, and that it is an immense heartbreak for the family. This is clear through the first two lines of stanza two, where the strong, solid fatherly figure of the boy is rendered distraught and upset by the tragedy, leaving the main character virtually helpless in his own grief. The second section also starts to introduce the

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