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English IOC Review

IOC study guide

Rachel Campbell

on 25 January 2013

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Transcript of English IOC Review

IOC Review - Poems The Follower Antaeus Personal Helicon Limbo Death of a Naturalist Relates to "Digging" Religious Imagery Seamus Heaney farming reference & young boy following behind someone else A Constable Calls Digging Blackberry Picking Mid-Term Break Background on Heaney: Born in April 1939, oldest of 9
Dad = farmer in Northern Ireland (Gaelic past - cattle-herding; silent)
Mother = worked in the linen mill (Industrial Revolution; spoke out)
tension between speech and silence "quarrel with himself"
historical intentions in his poems
issue of moving as a child (more geographical than psychological) County Derry = "country of the mind" where his poems are grounded [never lost touch with his roots]
Catholic background = St. Columb's College, boarding school (a scholarship)
transition from "the earth of farm labor to the heaven of education"
Born into a society deeply divided along religious and political lines
He questions a poet's responsibility of creative freedom and the pressure of social obligation
His poetry recaptures the look, feel, and smell of those formative years in County Derry SIDE NOTE: Northern Ireland (where Heaney grew up) is Protestant, but he is Catholic. Southern Ireland is Catholic. The Constable is Protestant. Structure/Form:
2 uneven stanzas (16 lines, 8 lines)
iambic pentameter, simple lines are 10 syllables
lines are rhymed [1 and 2] [3 and 4] [23 and 24] Speaker/POV:
man looking back on days of his youth spent in the countryside
recalls a memory - how it made him feel, what it meant to him
Speaker now has years of insight and experience, BUT he honors the naive hope, excitement, and disappointment of the young boy Setting:
summer, late august
vivid scenery
all sorts of colors, smells, and tastes
= contributes to the lasting memory Title: Blackberry Picking
very literal, basic, therefore no intention of a deeper meaning, making the reader interpret the poem Fresh blackberries vs. Harvested (rotted)
** Turning Point**Transition
FRESH = speaker's lust [lines 7-8: can be anything,] youth, hope, high expectations, once a year in the summer, inexperienced, greed, takes all cans to get as many fresh ones as he can, wants to keep what's young and beautiful, satisfied
HARVESTED = speaker's bounty, doomed to rot and die (like humans), gross, time goes on and there is nothing we can do, beauty is fading, morality, metaphor [lines 20-21] = taken off the bush/out of the womb, human desire to keep what's good in life from leaving = temporary vs. permanent Biblical Imagery:
Communion - flesh, wine, blood, tongue
Christ - thorns and the crucifixion, thorn pricks of the berries
Ties blackberry picking to sacrifice, tradition, and belief
Groups of 3 = Holy Trinity
Flesh = sexual desire (Christians believe this leads people astray - flesh & excitement of the berries
[line 5-7] - giving into temptation by eating the 1st one
sour flesh - universal metaphor for aging and impermanence Symbolism of Bluebeard:
Fairy Tale - Brother's Grim
wealthy guy, killing wives, blood from the bodies
[line 17] - simile, the kids hands are "sticky" like Bluebeard's, to show the boys are guilty of something (greed, lust, foolish hope) Message of Undying hope = "Heaney describes how each summer he is seduced by blackberries, and how each summer he collects to many, only to see the majority spoil. Like many of his poems, it carries a MESSAGE of innocent exuberance that is both tragic and uplifting. For all the infants involved SYMBOLISM: IMAGERY: Compares Fathers and Sons
* Change Over Time Structure/Form:
6 stanzas (4 lines each)
use of enjambment lines [8-9], leads to transition
one fragment, line 5, describes the father Title: The Follower
line 19 - the first time the title is mentioned in the poem "FOLLOW"
The reason for the use of "follower" = roles (father to son)
last stanza contrasts to father being the follower Setting:
understood through the use technical language
many words associated with agriculture
dirty work = working with the earth (nature terms)
Every summer, annual occupation, repetitive process
Imagery - b/c of the tangible terms, technical language Narcissus Symbolism = Fish
salmon, spawning, minnow
baptism - was not performed on the infant, therefore was destined for limbo
fish are found in water where baptism occurs and is baptized when one comes up from the water
IRONIC - mother drowns her baby where Christians are reborn
the feeding of the 5,000 The Ballyshannon, water, fish The speaker talks about his ROOTS Title: Digging
literal and figurative meaning
Digging is mentioned throughout the poem
"I'll dig with it." = A PEN Structure/Form:
8 stanzas
all different lengths Setting:
past tense and present
flashbacks Title: A Constable Calls
An authority figure - a threat
Protestant (Constable) vs. Catholic (Dad)
His BIKE is a symbol in the poem
Dialogue = stanza 6 Symbol: BIKE
starts and ends with the officer's bike
particular parts of the bike
a threat
reminiscent of a gun
analytical of the force of power of the constable A Narrative poem Title: Mid-Term Break
literal = vacation, school year break
figurative = an ending/death, life is cut short The Earth is his mother, from which he gets his strength. Different from his other poems where his father is the focus. Relates to "Personal Helicon" Relates to "Digging" - identifies as a writer
Relates to "Antaeus" - Greek Structure:
3 lines per stanza, 7 stanzas
only 1 one-line stanza (the end)
moves chronologically, but slowly Relates to "The Follower"
Relates to "Personal Helicon" - identifies as a writer Relates to "Blackberry Picking" Relates to "Death of a Naturalist" - transition of POV Speaker/POV:
The son, the speaker is talking about himself
His role compared to his father's (= a role reversal)
Language he uses about himself is negative Motifs:
Farming - technical language
Falling/struggling/no good enough
Water - timeless, reliable, powerful Imagery: Farming and the technical terms that are used in farming
Sights and sounds associated with agriculture Characterization: Father: Son: known for his precision
focused and hard-working
**Developed as a result of imagery described as a burden
emphasizes the difference between his father and himself (last sentence) Message/Theme: Childhood fascination and admiration becomes awareness and mournfully observant of the generational differences. The poem is an honest assessment of an unfortunate reality. Structure:
5 stanzas, 4 lines each
two enjambments
first 3 stanzas = strength/confidence
last 2 stanzas = weakness
last line [20] = ironic and paradoxical Title:
very literal
Allusion - greek giant that receives strength from contact with the Earth (his mother) also to Hercules Speaker/POV
referring to Antaeus
understands that others don't know his flaw that could really kill him.
metaphors (not like/as) and similes (like/as) lead to characterization HAMARTIA Earth Imagery Motif:
motherly language (weaned, nurtured, wombed) and in this case the mother/earth gives him strength.
*Education taught Heaney about mythology - which took him away from his ROOTS.
*Heaney's life came from the ground = FARMING Earth/nature/the ground is symbolic of birth or the womb.

The Earth is also objectified and creates Antaeus' identity *falling down makes him stronger* Structure:
4 lines per stanza, 5 stanzas
A-B rhyming in 1, 4, 5
2,3 seem less hopeful (contains no rhymes) Title: Personal Helicon
*Allusion/reference to GREEK MYTHOLOGY = Mt. Helicon in Greece the home of the Muses (gave you inspiration)
a personal source of inspiration Speaker/POV
Heaney starts from a child's POV and ends with an adult = comes full circle
1st stanza - "as a child" = an overview
Child's view is assumed based on gross imagery and observations, emotions
"Now" transitions to adult POV
Child = not reflective, without enough experiences to be reflective
Adult = writes to inspire oneself, to be reflective of one's life and to assert his identity as a writer Literary devices:
onomatopoeia - "crash"
connotative - emotion attached to it
synecdoche - one part of something to describe the whole "rhyme"
alliteration The continued search for an identity.
The beginning of self-awareness. Imagery: Symbols: Themes: parts of the well, make the symbol concrete
graphic and gross imagery of the outdoors - what little children are interested in leads to characterization
reflection = a disturbing image or ugly reality
active verbs create imagery The well:
multiple wells
has depth = symbolic
many wells = learning new things
reflection in the water of a well

greek, obsessed with himself, starred at it for eternity which led to his death/demise *redefining oneself

reflection allows/encourages self-awareness and can led to the formation of an individual

finding inspiration in a world of threats and harshness Structure:
5 stanzas, 4 lines each Title: Limbo
simple, nonspecific
compared to more direct titles
must be interpreted
meaning = a suspended state of being Setting:
The Ballyshannon (famous fishing spot)
Old RELIGIOUS town in Ireland Ichthys RELIGION The Catholic Church
powerful influence in Northern Ireland (gov't)
conservative practices - no illegitimate children
historical conflict between Catholics and Protestants
CHILDREN ARE NO MORE IMPORTANT TO THE CHURCH THAN THE FISH ARE TO THE NETS IN THE SEA [not how Jesus wanted it to be - "make you fishers of men" and all the "little fishes"]
the Mother has an obligation to the Church (laws), which is above her love/connection with the child
conflict and violence between P & C

Jesus is unable to save the baby that has been drowned in his own waters - the infant is doomed for limbo. Speaker/POV:
the speaker acknowledges himself in line 6
otherwise, this is a hypothetical situation that is observed and documented
separates the mother and infant (made to be an object) from the speaker Literary devices:
tone: certainty, belief
mood: sad, depressed
characterization More from the view point of the mother and her obligations to the Church and society! Message:
the man-made institution of the Catholic Church of Ireland has flaws (that Heaney is familiar with)
Who is going to save us if God can't?
The Church has unimaginable controls over society. Structure:
2 stanzas [21 lines to 12 lines]
free form poem
transitions from child to adult Imagery:
created through the use of human senses in the poem. Synesthaesia - describe one sense using another
establishes the setting
changes in imagery show intensity of a scene Title:
death - an end to a feeling, reality, phase
naturalist - an expert in real life/nature A childhood experience that turns sour! Setting:
Nature/Farming/earth is important
same place with the frogs the whole time
hot weather causes decay
harshness of nature (2nd stanza) Message:
The shift from childhood innocence and curiosity to adult disgust with the understanding of reality brought to us by education and our own experiences. The transition:
speaker changes
language used changes
graphic imagery CHARACTERIZATION of the speaker! Motifs:
nature = FROGS
disgusting diction Structure:
9 stanzas, 4 lines each
dialogue in stanza 6 Historically:
when the British ruled Northern Ireland the Catholics were oppressed - in the poem the Brit inspects their farm
Politics in Heaney's poetry Speaker/POV:
A child, his views on the threat of the constable
notices everything
afraid of the authority figure Relates to "Digging" - motif of guns (Digging = a pen) Threatening objects - create images
THE BOMB "tick, tick, tick"
mysterious and controlling Speaker/POV:
Dad digs for potatoes, Grandpa digs for heat = PROVIDE
Son = guilty for occupation that doesn't provide directly
characterization from differences Imagery:
smells, taste
visual Gun is defensive
Some sacrifice is involved
**TRADITION Starts and ends with the same phrase Setting:
School - speaker is away at school, evident by the "college sick bay"
Home - where father and mother are, other people (the strangers), funeral location
poem takes place over 2 days Speaker/POV:
"I" - specific to the speaker
"My" father and "my" mother
the speaker is the one that felt sick in the beginning of the poem
"I was the eldest" = similar to Heaney who was the oldest and had a little brother die Characterizations of the mother and father based on their reactions and emotions towards the funeral. Compare the tone and mood of the poem! The infant that is alive contrasts/emphasizes the life amidst death.
"The baby cooed, laughed, and rocked..." "A four foot box, a foot for every year." This is the final line of the poem, in a stanza all by itself. (Different from the rest)
only rhyme = with "clear" from the previous line
Actual truth about what has happened = disturbing
"four foot box" is mentioned to lines before, sets up the repetition
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