Explanation of the poem-Mid -Term Break

A boy who studies in a school far away from home receives news that his brother is dead and waits in the school sick room for someone to collect him. A neighbor comes and takes him home. ‘On the porch’ he meets his father, a strong-minded man who is openly crying for the loss of his son. The people who gather at the house whisper among each other that the eldest son has returned home. Only the youngest member of the family-‘the baby’ expresses joy to see his or her brother because the infant is unaware of the tragedy at home. The men who supposed to be his father’s friends and neighbors come and shake his hand indicating that he has become an adult member in the family in this tragic situation.

Meanwhile the child’s mother is without words as her grief is something, which she could not bear alone and takes strength by holding the elder son’s hand.
The dead body of the child arrives in an ambulance around 10 p.m. It is bandaged and looks pale. The elder brother doesn’t go to see the dead body of his brother but waits until the next morning. It is kept in a coffin and there are candles and flowers that are used to honour the dead. He sees his younger brother after two and half months since he has been studing in a far away school.

There is a purplish bruise on the forhead of the dead child caused by the accident. It seems to the elder brother that his brother is sleeping in his cot because there is no disfigurement or any other indication to notice that the child is dead as a result of an accident. He has died on the spot; God has been merciful to him.

In the last line, the poet tells us his age. He is a mere four-year-old boy. That sums up the theme of the poem.

The poem tells us the terrible consequences when adults behave carelessly. The child dies not for his own fault. A reckless driver, one of the many we see in the streets today, grabs his innocent, carefree life.


Activities
1. Mark whether these sentences are right or wrong. 

a. The poem is about a family.()

b. The poet tells us the story of the poem through the eyes of a child to make it more compassionate to the reader.()

c. The child gets an unexpected holiday in the middle of the term.()

d. The second line of the first verse indicates that the child is going to attend a funeral at school.()

e. The narrator’s father seems to be a very weak-minded person.()
2. Answer these questions.
1. Where is the narrator when he gets the ‘unexpected news’ ?
2. Why does the writer use the word ‘knelling’ with the word ‘ bells’ without using” ringing’ ?
3.Why do you think the neighbours came to collect him instead of his parents? 
4.How does the poet inform us that his father, usually a calm person is greatly troubled at the moment?
5.What emotions are created by the poet when father meets son?
If you want your answers marked by me send them through email and I will mark them and e-mail them back.

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Mid Term Break-Seamus Heany

 

I waited in the college sick bay

Counting bells knelling classes to a close.

At ten o’clock our neighbours drove me home.

In the porch I met my father crying –
He had always taken funerals in his stride –
And Big Jim Evans saying it was a hard blow.

The baby cooed and laughed and rocked the pram
When I came in, and I was embarrassed
By old men standing up to shake my hand

And tell me they were ‘sorry for my trouble’
Whispers informed strangers that I was the eldest,
Away at school, as my mother held my hand

In hers and coughed out angry tearless sighs.
At ten o’clock the ambulance arrived
With the corpse, stanched and bandaged by the nurses.

Next morning I went up into the room. Snowdrops
And candles soothed the bedside I saw him
For the first time in six weeks. Paler now,

Wearing a poppy bruise on his left temple.
He lay in a four foot box, as in his cot.
No gaudy scars, the bumper knocked him clear.

A four foot box, a foot for every year.