Blackberry Picking Analysis

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Blackberry Picking’ by Seamus Heaney is a poem exploring hope and disappointment throughout life, and Heaney uses his own personal experience to illustrate his view. Seamus Heaney once said “Even if the hopes you started out with are dashed, hope has to be maintained” and what Heaney skillfully does during ‘Blackberry picking’ is explores different attitudes to life, using a contrast between stanzas with word choice and imagery. Heaney uses metaphors and similes, which make the idea of blackberry picking as a child more significant. As it continues, it is made apparent that the poet is becoming more adult and pessimistic, showing the growth of a child through ‘berry picking’. In stanza one, Heaney explores an optimistic and child-like view to life. He used desperate word choice that suggests a lust and a need for berries. With his phrase ‘glossy purple clot’ the poet describes the first blackberry that has ripened and has stood out from others; along with the contrast that describes the others as still being 'hard as a knot'. Heaney associates the taste of the first ripe berry to the sweetness of ‘thickened wine’ and he uses a metaphor to express a desire for more. An example of this is Heaney’s quote, 'lust for picking' which suggests a strong yearning for the berries. The poem becomes more and more eager and desperate halfway through stanza one. As an example of this, Seamus Heaney writes, “sent us out, with milk cans, pea tins, jam-pots”, showing they were so longing for the berries, that they used all they could get their hands on in an attempt to gain more. The berries are then described as “dark blobs” that burn like “a plate of eyes,” and the children's hands are “peppered with thorn pricks, their palms sticky as Bluebeard's” linking in a less childlike and assured view into to stanza two, using a more haunting language style that suggests suffering and

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