Compare and contrast the themes of love and death in Seamus Heaney’s “Mid-Term Break” and Galway Kinnell’s “Promissory Note”.
The poem illustrates a boy arriving home from school, “moaning in the college sick bay” to hear the news that his four year old brother has been killed in an accident. Upon arriving home, “I met my father crying.” This shows how death can cause much grief and trauma, as well as confusion. Here we can see that the stereotypical roles of the parents have been reversed/exchanged, with the father crying, and the boy’s mother, “Coughed out angry, tearless sighs.” It can be seen, that deaths were quite common, “He had always taken funerals in his stride.” But no-one expected the death to hit quite so close to home… to the heart. And then we see the tables have turned; the parents no longer were the spectators of the funerals, now that their own flesh and blood had been taken away from them.
Well Heaney doesn’t ever show his emotion towards his brother’s death. This might either be because of the emotion being too great that it can’t be told, or he doesn’t any emotion about it.
He might not have emotion because their family has seen lots of death. His father is an undertaker, “He had always taken funerals in his stride”. This shows that their quiet a lot familiar with deaths so the death of his brother isn’t a new thing.
Every body is emotional towards his brothers’ death but not as much as expected because his mum doesn’t cry. She just feels sad, “coughed out angry tearless sighs”. This shows that their very familiar to deaths. Many people came to the funeral. They showed grief towards his brothers’ death, “sorry for my trouble”. There was a baby who didn’t understand anything about the situation. The baby was very excited and full of laughter when he saw Heaney, “The baby cooed and laughed and rocked the pram When I came in” this shows that the baby is very closely related to Heaney.
From my point of view I think Heaney has a great love for his brother and the death of his brother is unbearable so he doesn’t want to talk about it.
This poem is called “Mid-Term Break” is because by the term “break” here it means end. So it’s a sign that shows the end of Heaney’s brother. The term “mid-term” means the, “six weeks”. For these reasons the term, “Mid-Term Break” is very effective to the reader.
This poem is very effective to the reader because when its being read it takes the reader into a world with new experiences where there’s mixed emotions. It shows sadness, “father crying”, it shows grief, “sorry for my trouble”, and it also shows confusion from the writer himself. There’s lots other emotions. This makes the story very interesting. All these emotions are fit into a very short story like poem. It allows the reader to experience the side of different emotions.
The boy is from school, “away at school.” This shows that the boy is a teenager.
It also shows that his school is far away. His brother is a four year old kid, “a four foot box, a foot for every year.” His brother died from getting hit by a vehicle, “the bumper knocked him clear”. The hit “was a hard blow”.
The poem is an unusual poem. It’s a poem without rhyme. It’s rather like a story. But it fits the style of the poem.
The poem “Promissory Note” is about a man who promises his wife before death that if he dies he would never be separated from her, and even after death he will come like “a shooting star” to his love and live in her memory, “not only your own memories but mine too”. This shows that they believe that love is eternal, “I will cross over into you”. This shows that
The writer is writing to his wife promising to live together for ever, even after death.
Both the poems are quiet similar because both of them relate their poem to death and they talk about their loved ones. The poets never use rhymes even though it’s meant to be a poem. They never express their own feelings.
The poems also have differences between them. In the poem “Mid-Term Break” the writer writes about his brother but in the poem “promissory note” the writer writes about his lover.
In the poem “Mid-Term Break” the writer describes himself as a young boy who goes to school but in the poem “promissory note” the writer describes himself as a elderly man who is married. The poem “Mid-Term Break” was set after the death of a person but the poem “promissory note” was set before the death of the lovers. The scenery in both the poems is also different. In the poem “Mid-Term Break” has a sad scene but the scene in “promissory note” is a romantic scene. There’s also another difference. The poem “Mid-Term Break” has a layout like short story but the poem “promissory note” has layout similar to a list of things. It is more of a poem but without rhyme. The poem “Mid-Term Break” is more of a realistic story but the poem “promissory note” is more of a list of things that can only be dreamed. It’s not realistic.
Both these poem are very strong and interesting to the reader. The poem “Mid-Term Break” is a very interesting and realistic poem. It puts the reader into many different emotions. This story is something that nobody would wish for and that’s something very common because many people around the world die like this. So this isn’t something new. But it is very high skill full poem. But I would prefer the poem “promissory note” because that’s something that I would wish for and hope it becomes true. Majority of the people in the world that read poems of this sort are over kid’s age so most of them have their own lovers. They just get attracted to it very easily. For these reason I think that the poem “promissory note” is more appealing to me than the poem “Mid-Term Break”.