Hedge School

  • 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.

Blackberry-picking

  • First person.
  • Joys and innocence of childhood.
  • First stanza – enthusiasm for blackberry picking.
  • Second stanza – revulsion towards the blackberries as they decay.
  • Half-rhyme
  • 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.
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3 thoughts on “

    1. The site wouldn’t let me finish the essay before it crashed. Also, I couldn’t save the draft so I published only what I wrote so far and wanted to edit it later, but I couldn’t because it kept crashing

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