Monday, April 12, 2010

Thesis on Heaney Sonnet

In this sonnet by Seamus Heaney, from his sequence “Clearances”, we see an early childhood memory take on an almost sacramental significance. Peeling potatoes in the kitchen with his mother, the speaker uses images of falling away, of solder “weeping off the soldering iron,” of a shared silence broken only by the splash of “clean water” gleaming in a bucket, to express his sense of communion with his mother in the most ordinary elements of her life. The poem’s initial incident with his mother(1-8), “her breath in mine,” intimate, simple, carved out of the domesticity of her kitchen, comes back to the speaker after the poem’s middle incident, his mother’s death-bed, with the force of a revelatory vision. Shared experience, in this sonnet, has a fluency all its own.

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