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Blackberry Picking Analysis

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by

ashima sethi

on 9 September 2010

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Transcript of Blackberry Picking Analysis

Blackberry Picking by Seamus Heaney Late August, given heavy rain and sun
For a full week, the blackberries would ripen.
At first, just one, a glossy purple clot
Among others, red, green, hard as a knot.
You ate that first one and its flesh was sweet 5
Like thickened wine: summer's blood was in it
Leaving stains upon the tongue and lust for
Picking. Then red ones inked up and that hunger
Sent us out with milk cans, pea tins, jam-pots
Where briars scratched and wet grass bleached our boots.10
Round hayfields, cornfields and potato-drills
We trekked and picked until the cans were full
Until the tinkling bottom had been covered
With green ones, and on top big dark blobs burned
Like a plate of eyes. Our hands were peppered 15
With thorn pricks, our palms sticky as Bluebeard's.

We hoarded the fresh berries in the byre.
But when the bath was filled we found a fur,
A rat-grey fungus, glutting on our cache.
The juice was stinking too. Once off the bush 20
The fruit fermented, the sweet flesh would turn sour.
I always felt like crying. It wasn't fair
That all the lovely canfuls smelt of rot.
Each year I hoped they'd keep, knew they would not.
The Meaning behind the poem: various interpretations
The idea of memories
The idea of innocence lost
The idea of man vs. nature
Heaney is using the idea of blackberry picking as a metaphor for something else
Similar to the poem "Digging" How was this message communicated? Use of Allusions What is an allusion?
"Bluebeard" is the clearest example of an allusion in this poem
There are arguably (depending on the readers interpretation of the poem) Biblical allusions that have been incorporated into the poem
Most of the allusions revolved around the idea of temptation. Imagery Imagery is intensely important to this poem- it provides the main basis of communicating the authors intention and meaning behind the poem
There was constant use of sensory imagery within this poem- especially visual
Theres a clear turning point when it comes to imagery between the first stanza and the second- the second stanza being more morbid. Similes and Metaphors used a number of times in the poem
Examples...
The similes and metaphors transition from being positive to negative- same as the structure of the poem
The transition leads up to the turning point in the poem's tone
These two techniques are used in the poem to emphasize the strong visual imagery- this aids in getting the authors message across to readers
Choice of diction -monosyllabic words
-words with double meaning
-words with varied connotations
-alliteration
Structural Features Stanza Structure First stanza is longer
Second one is shorter
The author creates an almost sense of euphoria through the first stanza only to have it crash down in the second one- highlights the change in tone Rhyme there are only two full rhyming couplets in the poem
One is towards the beginning the other at the end- highlights a cycle
temptation leads to consequences
hope can lead to disappointment
even the rhyme highlights the authors intention with the poem In Summary: The poem has various interpretations when it comes to meaning making it difficult to figure out the direct intention the author had when writing it
There are numerous poetic techniques and devices used within this poem to highlight these messages
Imagery (especially sensory imagery) plays a vital role throughout the poem in illustrating and painting a clear and vivid picture for readers to follow
Elements that involve structure also aid in communicating a message
The poem shares a lot of similar features with another poem by Seamus Heaney, "Digging"
Despite the fact that the poem comes off simple and literal in it's first reading, it is in fact rather complex and abstract with its meaning and it is honestly up to the reader to agree on their interpretation of this poem.
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