Seamus Heaney's Casualty

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Seamus Heaney’s Casualty offers sharp and imposing emotions which take the reader on an emotional rollercoaster. Feelings of admiration and appreciation are brusquely contrasted by sorrow and remorse. Depictions of a courageous and heroic rebel are conversed by dreary, lonesome moments. Hope and faith shine a light, only to be dulled by sympathy and sadness. Finally, closure is found, accompanied by pride and relief. Casualty starts with a somewhat unusual admiration. The opening line implies the fisherman finds strength in solitude, as he drinks by himself. On one hand, this can be seen as an alcoholic trait. On the contrary, to drink alone and not need surrounding company displays a man with inner strength and confidence. He needs not companions to make little specs of chit-chat. The fisherman seems to be the strong-silent type. To order a drink, he merely has to “raise a weathered thumb ... without/ Having to raise his voice ... By a lifting of the eyes” (2, 5-6, 8). As the great philosopher Plato once wrote, “wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something.” This man knows when his words are needed and when to save his breath. The fisherman’s drink selection also reflects his strength. Rum is strong alcohol, and to down several glasses takes a high level of tolerance. The accompanying blackcurrant has a strong connection with World War II. During the war, it was extremely difficult to find sources of vitamin C in the UK. Since imported fruits were little to none, the government encouraged production of the vitamin C potent blackcurrant (Gray). It can be argued that this fruit helped allied troops fight their way to victory. This concoction represents power and never giving up, and the fisherman embraces this one gulp at a time. His other drink choice is a stout, which is typically dark and strong. The darkness
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