How Does Heaney Make Life On The

Farm Vivid? Essay, Research Paper


very first line that Heaney uses, ?I was six when I first saw kittens

drown.?? is very powerful.? This is because it shows that reader that he

is making it vivid, by stating that he was only six.? This means that the event made such an impression on him, being

so young, and he is able to remember every little detail very well.? After this, the basic ways in which Heaney

makes life on the farm vivid are to do with the imagery he uses, the language

of the poem, used to describe the animals, their death, Dan Taggart and

himself. ??????????????? ??????????????? The

most important part of life on the farm is not the animals in this case, but

the people that work and live on the farm; Heaney himself, and a farm hand, Dan

Taggart.? If we, the readers did not

know about the people, the poem would seem less vivid and clear for us, because

we would be unable to make any sort of useful judgement.? As it is, Heaney has described the

characters so well that we see the farm vividly and we can sympathise with the

characters.? Neither Dan, nor Heaney are

described very obviously, but from their actions and attitudes, we are left to

build our own views of them.? This also

helps to make the farm seem vivid, because we are left to our own imaginations

in some parts, which means that we can see the farm, as we want to see it,

clearly in our minds. ??????????????? For

example, when Dan uses such words and phrases such as ?pitched?, ?scraggy wee

shits?, ?soused? and ?slung? we can see vividly the kind of person that Dan is,

because all these words describe his actions, but they give us an idea of his

personality.? He is not, at first

impression, a nice man, because the words imply rough and un-caring behaviour

towards the kittens.? This is using

imagery and language to make the farm appear vivid.? The words such as ?pitched? are images of Dan?s cruelty to the

animals, because it implies that he throws them rather that places them with

care into the bucket.? The language that

Dan uses, like ?scraggy wee shits? shows us vividly what he is like, and so we

get a good idea of life on the farm, because he plays a major part in Heaney?s

memories. ??????????????? We

get further ideas of life on the farm because of the way in which Heaney and

Dan react together.? For example, Dan

says to the young Heaney ?Sure isn?t it better for them now??? This shows to us that life on the farm is

tense between the two, because Dan realises that cruelty to animals doesn?t

come into it because he has to run an efficient farm, whereas the young Heaney

doesn?t understand this, and feels only for the kittens.? Dan, however, has obviously had a great

impact on Heaney, because he is very scared when Dan ruthlessly kills all sorts

of other animals, ?trapped big rats, snared rabbits, shot crows?.? Heaney must have remembered this as it was

seen to be important to him as a child, and it gives us images of a small boy

being scared by the farm hand, helping to build up a vivid picture, and so we

are encouraged to have sympathy with the young Heaney. ??????????????? ??????????????? Although

the people in the poem help very much to build up the vivid picture, the

animals are important too.? Heaney uses

very definite language and imagery which helps us to view the farm that he

lived on in a more realistic way.? The

way in which the kittens looked when they were alive is described exactly,

showing that their innocence really hit upon him as a child.? He describes them as ?frail? and ?tiny?, and

this helps us to build up a picture of the animals.? It also makes the whole picture of the poem much more vivid,

because it provides such a contrast to Dan?s character. ??????????????? When

the kittens die, Heaney uses imagery which shows us exactly what the kittens

look like, but also how he feels about them, in a more subtle way.? For example, he uses similes such as ?Like

wet gloves they bobbed and shone…? which show us that he cares about the

animals because the thoughts and feelings stayed with him into adulthood.? This is powerful imagery, because it

provides us with a very vivid picture of the small, dead kittens, and so Heaney

involves us and our imaginations in the poem much more. ??????????????? Other

animals are described very vividly in the poem.? ?Or with a sickening tug, pulled old hens? necks.? is a very good

image.? It gives us more of an idea of

what the young Heaney thinks of Dan, and the language used: sickening, is very

powerful.? It helps us to build up a

more complete picture of life on the farm.??????????????? Heaney

would not have made the farm so vivid if he had not included his change of

emotions.? The main reason that we, the

readers, feel so involved is because we have been shown both sides of the

argument, and are left to make up our own minds, rather that be forced to do

it.? When he uses ?Bloody pups? himself,

it shocks us, but it also makes the life on the farm appear much clearer.? This is because we now understand that

living on a farm can change people that much.?

It is not only the language that he uses that shocks us, but the

attitude towards the animals. ??????????????? Towards

the end of the poem, Heaney uses a comparison.?

?Where they consider death unnatural?, referring to the people in the

town.? This really makes farm life

vivid, because it shows us the fundamental difference between the farm and the

very different life that the majority of us lead. ??????????????? His

last line, ?But on well-run farms pests have to be kept down.? provides us with

an actual picture of the farm, whereas all the others have been from the

animals and people.? He appeals to our

common sense to make the farm life more vivid, by letting us see a reason why

everything is done as it is. We therefore feel that Heaney has made it very

clear to us what his life has been like, through the use of language and

imagery, and the descriptions of people and the animals.


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