How does Heaney convey the sadness of death in Mid-term Break?

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In Mid-term Break by Seamus Heaney, the sadness of death is conveyed through the use of imagery, sound devices, diction, and syntax. This atmosphere is maintained throughout the whole poem and explodes into a sharp and bitter climax at the end. The feelings of death are revealed almost straight away through Heaney’s use of diction. Heaney describes the ringing of the school bells as “knelling”. This is normally used to illustrate the ringing of funeral bells, giving the line a sinister tone, and foreshadows Heaney’s brother’s death. In line four, the poet’s father is “crying”. Heaney uses this instead of sobbing or weeping because “crying” has strong connotations of extreme grief, reflecting his own emotions. He also refers to the time twice throughout the poem. When people are distressed, they often notice minute details subconsciously, and this reinforces how much sorrow Heaney is experiencing. The use of rhyming couplets in the last two lines emphasizes the bitterness and anguish that Heaney experiences, especially in the last line - “A four foot box, a foot for every year”. It is said with detached coldness, almost like the view of a spectator to the incident. This comes as a surprise to the reader, as the mood in the previous stanza is seemingly reflective, which leads suddenly to the climax, leaving an aftertaste of Heaney’s indirect bitterness in the reader’s mind. It is also the first time the reader finds out that Heaney’s brother who died is only four years old. Furthermore, Heaney has used a rich range of imagery in the poem to convey the sadness of death. The image of Heaney’s father crying and the mother coughing out “angry tearless sighs” is a reversal of roles. Again this reflects Heaney’s state of distress and the confusion that is inside him. The repeated image of Heaney’s hand after being shaken like a man, and then held by his mother like a
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