Analysis Of The Twice Shy By Seamus Heaney

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In the poem Twice Shy, the poet Seamus Heaney depicts two adolescent lovers going out for a walk on a spring evening. The description of the surroundings helps Heaney portray the happy yet shy feeling of a young and trouble-free love relationship.

The poem is set on a cool, spring evening by the river bank. The river gives feelings of warmth, gentleness and calmness that suit the simple and naïve feeling of teenage love. Heaney cleverly intertwines the poetic elements of setting to provide a description of the characters’ sentiments. He purposely picks spring, ‘la saison de l’amour’ (the season of love), to emphasize the breathtaking experience that these two adolescents endure. The two are youthful and inexperienced but spends a heavenly time together. The twilight dusk of March comes out as a “vacuum of need” and at the same time also mocks the unstable and hesitant feelings of the two youngsters. Heaney picked March because it is the mating month where animals couple up and the phrase “vacuum of need” shows that both the boy and the girl want to be filled up by love.

Heaney portrays feelings of tension and uncertainty in the relationship between the two characters. The metaphor, “traffic holding its breath” shows the stillness of the area, which conveys that the surrounding is affected by their relationship and nervous. The poet further emphasises the tension with another metaphor, “sky a tense diaphragm”. Describing it as a “tense diaphragm” denotes the weakness of the sky. The lines, “But tremulously we held / As hawk and prey apart” show distance. The regular thoughts are that people cannot show public affections and should follow a code of behaviour. This conflicts between the need of flesh and social orders. The lovers try “not to publish feeling” because of the public do not believe in publicly displaying their fondness for each other, another reason is that they are scared to be hurt like their previous experiences. These two adolescents want to...

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