Tuesday, August 6, 2019
Death and Grief in Midterm Essay Example for Free
Death and Grief in Midterm Essay Out Out was written by Robert Frost who was an American poet born in 1874. He moved to New England, a farming region, where most of his poems were inspired. Mid Term Break was written by Seamus Heaney, who was born on a farm in County Londonderry in Northern Ireland. It is evident that both poets backgrounds have had much influence in their poetry writing which can be seen from these two poems. Although, Robert Frost attended Harvard University he had to leave early to support his family by moving to a farm in New Hampshire. He also had six children but four of them died before he did. In Out Out, he writes about the harsh reality of a young boy from a poor working class background having to work on a farm in order to help his family which led to his horrific and unmourned death. Apparently this was based on a true event. Seamus Heaney was one of nine children. When he was twelve he won a scholarship to St Columbs College in Londonderry. When he was studying there his four year old brother, Christopher, was killed in a road accident. Mid Term Break is based on this event. In contrast the death of Seamus Heaneys brother is described as a very emotional event mourned by family and friends. I am able to point out many similarities between these the poems but also a number of differences. The themes of the two poems focus on the death of two young boys. However in Mid Term Break the focus is on the aftermath and emotional responses of friends and family to a terrible accident. The boy is dead at the start of the poem. In Out Out the boy dies during the poem. This poem is written like a running commentary and his family show little emotion when he dies. I find this shocking. Also, both boys have died due to an accident at the hands of a machine. In Mid Term Break, the boy was killed by a car and in Out Out he was killed by a buzz saw. The difference is that one boy is left with hardly a scar, only a poppy bruise yet the other boy sustains horrific injuries by losing his hand and bleeding to death. One boy is killed instantly by a car and the other boy slowly bleeds to death. Both poems create an uneasy opening and an atmosphere of suspense. In Mid Term Break, Seamus Heaney describes the knelling of bells which is a sinister phrase used to describe funeral bells. He is also waiting to be picked up by his neighbour which indicates something may have happened to a family member. In Out Out, the poems tone begins with the description of the buzz saw which is threatening and sinister. The poet uses words like Buzz, snarled, rattled. These words are words used to describe a hungry ferocious animals like a venomous snake or a wild dog. The words are a good use of onomatopoeia. They introduce a sense of threat into the poem as they might be associated with danger and accidents. Robert Frost uses sibilance at the start of his poem. He changes the tone of the poem and refers to Sweet scented stuff when the breeze blew across it. This sentence appeals to our sight, smell and hearing. These are calm, gentle words in contrast to the threatening words used to describe the buzz saw. Seamus Heaney uses alliteration at the start of his poem, Counting bells knelling classes to a close. The sounds used here make you think of the tick tock of a clock. It also a metaphor as knelling bells are also bringing his brothers life to a close. Both of the poems have shocking endings. In Mid Term break we realise that the dead child was only 4 years old. A four foot box, a foot for every year. Nearly every word in the last line is short. It gives a sense of shortness and comes to an abrupt ending just like the brothers life. The ending in Out Out is equally appalling as it ends with the family showing little or no emotion to the death of their son. It also had an abrupt ending. Another similarity between the poems is that time is referred to in both of them. In Out Out, reference is made to the sunset far in Vermont. This suggests that light is becoming dimmer and the dim light could also have led to the accident occurring and the eerie atmosphere. In Mid Term break the poet refers to 10 Oclock twice which is a bright part of the day. Both poems use language with attitude. In Mid-Term Break Seamus Heaney uses metaphors wearing a poppy bruise this helps create an image because even though we know the dead child is not literally wearing a poppy bruise we can imagine what the bruise would look like and it is also a symbol of death. Also alliteration is used in a four foot box, a foot for every year. This makes the text seem more aggressive. It uses this technique to show the families anger at the death of the young child. Both poets use caesura in their poems. The effect of this is to build up tension and perhaps prepare the reader for unexpected events. Caesura is used in Mid Term Break just as Heaney is about to enter the room where his dead brother was resting. He does not know what to expect. It is used in Out Out at And nothing happened: day was all but done. The effect of the caesura is to put on pause the scene painted. It is near the end of the working day and the work is nearly completed and everything appears to be normal. In the first line of the poem we had that feeling that something sinister and threatening was going to happen and this pause may be used to allow the reader to prepare us for an expected significant event that was about to take place. Enjambment is used throughout Mid Term break. It gives the effect that the poet is in a sort of daze. There are also many differences between the two poems. The two families are from a different class. One boy comes from a working class background and another boy is from a more affluent background as the other boy is attending boarding school. Also, Mid Term Break was written in 1st person while Out Out was written in third person. You can understand more about the emotions that are felt in Mid Term Break. Although, Out Out has more action in it as it is a fast flowing poem. There is also a striking difference in how the families react to the death of the children. In Out Out there was no real emotion shown when the boy finally died. He is left alone and they then return to their work. In contrast, Mid Term Break describes the scene of the father crying uncontrollably. This would not be an expected reaction for men in Ireland to cry as they would normally bottle their emotions up. The fact that Jim Evans said it was a hard blow shows that it was someone close to the family. Friends and family gather at the house to offer their condolences. The body was then brought home and viewed in a coffin. Another difference is how the two boys are treated by their families. The boy in Out Out is treated as an adult who is doing a mans job. He is treated no different than anyone else. In Mid Term Break, the boy is being educated. He is however treated like a man when old men stand up to shake his hand as his father is in a bad state, people told strangers that he was the eldest. However, he is then reduced to a small child again when his mother holds on to his hand as she doesnt want to let him out of her sight. There is also a difference in the acceptance of the two deaths. In Out Out there wasnt any grieving amongst the family members but in Mid Term Break there is little acceptance particularly from the boys mother. The poem says she coughed out angry tearless sighs. She may be blaming herself as should have been with her child or not let him out of her sight.