‘On My First Sonne’, ‘Mid-Term Break’ and ‘Refugee Mother and Child’

The three poems ‘On My First Sonne’, ‘Mid-Term Break’ and ‘Refugee Mother and Child’ all explore the same theme, which are the emotions of love and loss. This conveys a sense of radical grief to the reader. The poem ‘Mid-Term Brake’ discusses the delicate issue of a child’s death. The poet Seamus Heaney uses many different linguistic devices in the poem to express all the emotion possible to make those who are reading the poem understand what it feels like loosing a small brother. In the very start of the poem a sense of sorrow is conveyed and some conclusions can be taken.

For instance the boy that is in the boarding school is feeling lonely. The mood of the poem can definitely be found in the second line “Counting bells knelling classes to a close”. This shows us how unhappy the boy is in the boarding school and it shows us what direction the play is taking, which is a gloomy one. Heaney uses as linguistic devices alliteration and assonance throughout the poem to emphasize the sound of the bells in the funeral and to make the feeling of time passing.

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We can see this in line one when he says it’s “morning” and in line three he says it’s “two o’ clock”. Seamus Heaney in the third line of the second stanza, emphasizes the emotional feelings of a man by saying “Big Jim Evans” followed in the line “… saying it was a hard blow”. Similar emotions are expressed in the poem “On My First Sonne” in which Ben Jonson is dreadfully heartbroken with the death of his first son. As well as in “Mid-Term Brake” the poem “On My First Sonne” also expresses an extreme sense of grief and uncertainty.

Ben Jonson is extremely confused with the unfortunate events that occurred that he wants to lose paternal feelings. This can be seen in the second line of the second stanza “O, could I loose all father, now. For why”. Jonson also uses a determining word which is “Farewell” in the first line of the poem which gives direction to the plot of the poem. This is a similar function to the “Counting bells knelling classes to a close” function. It gives the reader some knowledge of what he should be expecting to understand by the poem.

However in “Refugee Mother and Child” there are no immense expressions of anguish, actually Chinua Achebe eliminates the sad emotions using the third line of the first stanza “for a son she would have to forget”. In the second stanza, from lines four to ten, the poet compares the horrible situations and a mother’s tenderness. This poem similarly to the other two poems mentioned, also gives a direction to the plot straight away. Chinua Achebe emphasizes the message she wants to pass by combining words.

The poet conveys very deep emotions in the poem to illustrate the situation she was in. For instance in the eleventh to the thirteenth line of the second stanza, it quotes “a ghost smile between her teeth/and in her eyes the ghost of a mother’s/pride as she combed the rust colored”. On the other hand all poems use the love emotion and in “Refugee Mother and Child” Chinua Achebe knows she must get over the death of her child and she must not be emotionally destroyed. Ben Jonson has similar emotions and he expresses that in his poem.

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