Ancestral Photograph Essay

308 WordsNov 13, 20142 Pages
Seamus Heaney- Ancestral Photograph Poem Interpretation c.) The poem gains its power from the ambiguity of the speaking voice. The narrator of the poem communicates a deeply personal account of his own intimate history, as well as an objective detachment from it. The ambiguity of the narrator allows the audience to come up with multiple interpretations of the poem. Investigating the poem from this aspect, the second stanza proves to be the most interesting, as it is open to a number of various interpretations. The second line of this stanza, “Long fixed in sepia tints begins to fade”, indicates how long the heritage and the memories of his father’s uncle have been preserved. The next line,“ And must come down. Now on the bedroom wall”, shows us the speaker’s recognition for the need to move on, closing this chapter of his life and beginning a new phase. However his decision to remove this picture and move on might be the result of multiple feelings. It could be the fact that this portrait and the memories it brings up might still generate pain and remind him of the loss. However on the other it may also revive unpleasant memories that the narrator doesn’t want to remember, so he takes the picture off the wall. The second part of this stanza can also be considered controversial. The author uses the motive of ripping a bandage from the skin to present how painful it would be to remove this portrait. In this case it is questionable whether the narrator does this because the wound, left by the loss, is healed and he wants to begin a completely new chapter in his life or he wants to enter a new phase in his life to distance himself from all these memories, to let the wound, which didn’t heal yet, recover

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