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Strange Fruit analysis

Taking a look at language and seeing how it affects the meaning of the story, and being able to understand the message that the poem is trying to say.
by

Naly Vang

on 27 February 2011

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Transcript of Strange Fruit analysis

Strange fruit Analysis By: April Quioh and Naly Vang relevant background information Theme and Meaning Allusion to Diodorus Siculus Southern trees bear strange fruit
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root
Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze
Strange fruit hanging from the popular trees

Pastoral scene of the gallant south
The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth
Scent of magnolias, sweet and fresh
Then the sudden smell of burning flesh

Here is fruit for the crows to pluck
For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck
For the sun to rot, for the trees to drop
Here is a strange and bitter cry Creative Representation Sanctification of death by ritualistc murders

Detestation of murder

Reminder of horror in Ireland The poem references Diodorus Siculous, a Sicilian historian who wrote during the 1st century BC. His work is regarded as extremely vital in terms of the preservation of Greek history. He worked as a battlefield surgeon, and in one of his memoirs, he confessed that after being exposed to dead bodies for long periods of time, he became indifferent and at ease in the face of death. Ritualistic Murders in Northern Denmark "Strange Fruit" was part of a Heaney series referred to as "The Bog Poems". These poems are said to have been inspired by several dead bodies Seamus Heaney came across in Northern Denmark. They were the result of ritualistic murders during which the bodies were carefully preserved and given as an offering to villages in the hopes of a fruitful harvest. THE END. "Strange Fruit"'s place within Heaney's collection of poetry As previously mentioned in Background Information, "Strange Fruit" was written as part of a series entitled "The Bog Poems". While Heaney's earlier work dealt directly with his childhood experiences and personal growth "The Bog Poems" differ. Written twenty years before the Irish Troubles, these poems keep Heaney's reoccurring theme of cultural and religious tensions, but offer a much more reflective approach to his commentary. The way in which the tribal sacrificies are approached allow the reader to experience a side of Heaney that is fascinated with the unknown. In terms of style, "Strange Fruit" differs in that it lacks an obvious rhyme scheme, but is written in sonnet form. While some rhyme is present, it's inconsistency adds to the meaning of the poem. Language Simile "like an exhumed gourd" *Speaker compares the girl to an inedible fruit;rotten and dug up. This language suggests the uselessness of her death in comparing it to an old fruit that was thrown away. "dark as a turf clod" *The girl's broken nose is regarded as meaningless clump of dirt. The poet's choice of referring to the nose's darkness and not it's dirtiness reflects his view of the dark nature of death. All the language that Heaney includes reflect an overall solemn, gloomy, and disgusted tone. Imagery "her eye holes blank"
*Poet paints the image of total nothingness. "prune-skinned", "prune-stones for teeth" *Heaney paints the image of an undesirable fruit in comparison to a human that was once filled with life. This repetitive image offers an "overall" feel for the audience; this corpse is reduced entirely to a rotting fruit.
Tribe "unswaddled" the dead girl's hair made "an exhibition of its
coil"

*Gives sense of Heaney's attitude towards tribe

*Astonishment of tribe's actions Contradictions and Complicated Language "pash of tallow" *Means, roughly, "kiss of animal fat". The tribe's praise for something as undesirable as a dead body, or animal fat, further illustrates the author's disgust of the bog people and their behaviors. "perishable treasure" "leathery beauty" *Timeless beauty

*How can the tribe praise the beauty of a corpse they've murdered?

*Contradictory juxatopisition illustrates the ignorance of the tribe Finally, with the help of the allusion to Diodorus Sinculus, Heaney expresses his outstanding fear for the Irish people in the final lines. Final Poetic Devices He clarifies his fear that the tribe's "beatification" or extreme joy produced from murdering the girl (and from witnessing murder in general) will transcend into the ultimate desensitization of the Irish people. He states his disgust with how the spiritually murderd are the treated with the almighty and misplaced "reverence" that the tribe practices. The final reference to "reverence" gives the audience a clear depiction of the author's view of useless ritual murder.
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