- First person.
- Quotation from Chaucer at the beginning of the poem. Comes from The Pardoner’s Tale – a story about men who go out with the intention of finding Death, who they blame for their friend’s death. They end up killing each other as a result of their own greed and so have found ‘death’. The Pardoner’s Prologue involves the ‘Pardoner’ speaking to the audience of his sins – shows short stories are influenced by person telling them. Link with poem: ‘just how dark he runs inside’.
- Link with Heaney: does the opposite of him. Heaney fills bath with blackberries in hope they will stay fresh life and innocence). Sheers crushes the blackberries and feels guilty (loss of innocence).
- ‘Hoarding’ in upper-class in poem. Implication? Rich people are hoarders, hang on to much more than they need.
- Poem about a journey from school implies childhood. He (young Sheers) stops to pick up some blackberries. Explores different ideas about what to do with the berries.
- First person.
- Joys and innocence of childhood.
- First stanza – enthusiasm for blackberry picking.
- Second stanza – revulsion towards the blackberries as they decay.
- Autobiographical in content
- Recognizes the process of nature as the blackberries grow before eventually dying.
- Seen as a celebration of the joys of childhood.
- ‘Given heavy rain and sun’ – environmental/weather conditions in Northern Ireland.
- Link to Hedge School: ‘We hoarded the berries in the byre’ suggests a precious item was hidden away/stored away – great value that the children place on the berries.
- ‘Byre’ is indicative of the setting of rural Northern Ireland.
- Alliteration of ‘filled we found a fur’ emphasises the quick decay of the berries.
- ‘It wasn’t fair’ suggests the poem was from a child’s point of view.