Poetry - Heaney And Montague

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Montague and Heaney have both written about authority in their poems. Compare and contrast the poets’ presentation of this theme` in two poems you have studied. Both Heaney’s ‘Ministry of Fear’ and Montague’s ‘Time in Armagh’ convey the theme of authority. While many aspects of these two poems are very similar, there are many which differ. Heaney’s title, ‘Ministry of Fear’ conveys the theme of authority and the idea of a group of people in control that instil fear and cannot be reasoned with. Montague’s title, ‘Time in Armagh’ also immediately implies the theme of authority but conveys longevity and that the time Montague spent in school in Armagh was almost like a prison sentence. Heaney’s poem focuses on the uncomfortable education the Heaney himself received as a young boy attending St. Columb’s College in Derry and charts his friendship with Seamus Deane, to whom the poem is dedicated. His poem also discusses his own experience of the policing system in Northern Ireland. Montague’s poem also outlines the poet’s often vitriolic attack on the school system that he was part of when he boarded in St. Patrick’s, Armagh during World War 2. Both poets express negative views on authority throughout their poems. Heaney expresses his unpleasant experiences in St. Columb’s and focuses on the idea of unfair treatment, while Montague expresses his anger at the maltreatment and cruelty which was bestowed on the boys by each other and also the corporal punishment employed by the priests in charge. Both poems evidently present the physical and linguistic types of authority which Heaney and Montague had to endure and the everlasting effects that this had on them. However, while Montague’s poem sustains focus on his experiences and St. Patrick’s, Heaney broadens his focus and goes on to discuss his experiences of the Policing system in Northern Ireland. ‘Ministry of Fear’

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