Blackberry Picking Essay, Research Paper
In Seamus Heaney’s “Blackberry-Picking” the use of vivid diction, juicy imagery, infantile rhythm, and simple form conveys to the reader the deeper meaning of life’s own mortality and childhood’s innocence through the literal description of a memorable adolescent experience.
The poems simple form engulfs the reader into an almost reminiscent conversation with an adult reflecting on a childhood experience. This simple form gives the poem the simplicity and care-freeness that of which a child would possess and better reenacts the eventful action and encumbrances the reader more into the action. This simplicity creates the idea of childhood’s innocence through naivete. With naivete comes an almost mandatory form of innocence, which can only be truly represented by a child. The infantile rhythm creates a childlike persona, which furthermore strengthens the idea of childhood innocence conveyed in this poem.
The vivid diction furthermore submerges the reader into the action of the poem. Words like “sweet” and “thickened wine” sends the readers sense of taste into overdrive and creates a desire to pick berries along with the speaker. Juicy imagery is pieced together by the vivid diction creating an even better mental picture of the blackberries. The repetition of ending consonants but different sounds, such as “fair sour” lines 21-22, enforces the importance of the visual picture created by the vivid diction and dismisses any auditory significance left out. Alternately, words like “summer’s blood sweet flesh plate of eyes” creates the deeper allusion of the berries representing life or man. At first the berries are young and ripe but by the end the inevitability of it all comes painfully crashing down and just as man slowly rides into its demise the once “sweet flesh” is diminished into “rat-grey fungus” and the “summer’s blood” into “[stinking juice]“. Just as people know the death of their old grandma or grandpa or uncle is immanent the speaker realizes the fruit is perishable. But just as a man hopes against hope for his father never to die the speaker goes against his own rational mind and “[hopes the fruit will keep]“.
By using literally devices such as imagery, diction, rhythm, and form Heaney’s “Blackberry-Picking” conveys the deeper metaphor of life’s own mortality and the innocence of childhood, that is often loss in morality’s realization, through a literary depiction of a childhood pastime of picking blackberries.