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Mid-Term Break. I sat all morning in the college sick bay Counting bells knelling classes to a close. At ten o'clock our neighbours drove me home. In.

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Presentation on theme: "Mid-Term Break. I sat all morning in the college sick bay Counting bells knelling classes to a close. At ten o'clock our neighbours drove me home. In."— Presentation transcript:

1 Mid-Term Break

2 I sat all morning in the college sick bay Counting bells knelling classes to a close. At ten o'clock our neighbours drove me home. In the porch I met my father crying – He had always taken funerals in his stride – And Big Jim Evans saying it was a hard blow. The baby cooed and laughed and rocked the pram When I came in, and I was embarrassed By old men standing up to shake my hand And tell me they were 'sorry for my trouble' Whispers informed strangers that I was the eldest, Away at school, as my mother held my hand In hers and coughed out angry tearless sighs. At ten o'clock the ambulance arrived With the corpse, stanched and bandaged by the nurses. Next morning I went up into the room. Snowdrops And candles soothed the bedside I saw him For the first time in six weeks. Paler now, Wearing a poppy bruise on his left temple. He lay in a four foot box, as in his cot. No gaudy scars, the bumper knocked him clear. A four foot box, a foot for every year.

3 Seamus Heaney Born 13 April 1939 County Londonderry, N. Ireland Eldest of 9 children St. Columb’s College, Belfast Noble Prize in Literature in 1995 ‘Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry’ in Queen’s University, Belfast Poems deal with: Local surroundings Issues in N. Ireland His own family history Focus on characters in his own family

4 Style / Themes Elegy – a sad/thoughtful poem lamenting the death of a person Personal look back at the death of the poet’s younger brother 7 stanzas of 3 lines each, final line on its own. Themes : Childhood, Death/Loss, Memory Context At 12, Heaney was a boarding pupil at St. Columb’s College, Derry Whilst Heaney was at college, his younger brother Christopher was killed in a car accident. Poem is recalls the events from Heaney’s perspective

5 Int 2 Past Paper Poetry Questions Birth, death, love, hate, jealousy 2.Positive experience 3.Arouses strong emotion Ordinary experience – deeper meaning 2.Pity or sympathy 3.Describes a scene/incident vividly Sadness, pity or loss 2.Strong relationship 3.Human behaviour Message 2.Atmosphere 3.Character Questions in bold are all occasions when the poem ‘Mid-term Break’ could be used

6 1.Where is Heaney in the first stanza? (Check lines for clues) 2.By the end of stanza 2, what can we begin to guess has happened? What clue points to this conclusion? 3.In what way is the father’s reaction unexpected? 4.Why does the baby react like this? Why does this reaction stand out? 5.Strangers are told Heaney is “the eldest” (line 11) Why might this be significant? 6.Why do you suppose Heaney is “embarrassed” about the way the old men treat him? 7.In stanza 5 Heaney mentions “the corpse”. Who has died? Why do you think Heaney has chosen to use the word “corpse” rather than “body”. 8.How can we tell what has happened to him? Quote from the poem to support your answer. 9.Heaney describes the “poppy bruise” on his head. What do we normally associate poppies with? 10.How old was he? Quote from the poem to help explain your answer. How does the reader react to finding out the boy’s age?

7 Revealing hidden feelings How do you think Heaney might have felt about: – His father crying – Big Jim Evans – The baby in the pram – The strangers – His mother’s sighs – The difference between his father and mother Why do you think these feelings have not been described?

8 Symbols – Snowdrops and candles soothed the bedside – Wearing a poppy bruise – No gaudy scars Think about each of these images. What is unusual about each? Are there any techniques used? Add this info to your copy of the poem

9 The final line “A four foot box, a foot for every year” How effective is this final line? – What is the purpose of it? – What do you learn from it? – Language used?


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