How do Heaney and Plath present their feelings in the blackberry poems?

Categories: Poems

The two poems "Blackberrying" and "Blackberry-Picking" are similar in the sense of description of the blackberries. Both Sylvia Plath and Seamus Heaney present this fruit in a positive light, using thorough detail and both displaying their love for the blackberries with admiration. They are very similar in using strong and powerful language creating illusions and vivid images, almost making us feel as if we were experiencing this ourselves. Both of these poems start off describing Plath and Heaney's lust for the blackberries and how much satisfaction the fruit gives them, but then both writers display their feelings about how everything changes and how this temporary happiness doesn't last suggesting that life is not all pleasant.

In the poem "Blackberrying", by Sylvia Plath, the language is extremely effective, portraying a major change in tone. The first stanza tells us about Plath's love for the blackberries. In the first three lines, she expresses her awareness of her surroundings and how amazed and content she is, with all this fruit around her.

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She does this using the word "blackberries" a number of times. This repetition is powerful as it stresses her enjoyment. She uses "dumb" and "thumb" as rhyming, to create a bigger visual image of the blackberries, representing the way they are viewed by her. She makes these blackberries sound sumptuous, luscious and juicy, making us crave them and making them sound mouth-wateringly tasty, by saying "Fat with blue-red juices"

The lines "I had not asked for a blood sisterhood: they must love me", show us that she is quite desperate and lonesome, that her blood sisterhood should be with these berries, not humans, and shows us the femininity of nature.

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"They must love me could be could be telling us how the blackberries show their love to her by leaving their juice on her fingers, being all that loves her maybe. This personifies nature as a female force, acting as her companion. In the second stanza, negative repetition us used, suggesting Plath is crying out for help, such as "nothing, nothing" and "protesting, protesting". This stanza gets ready for the third, telling us that something unpleasant has come about, which is the flies, a visual image of them. They have become drunk on the juice of the berries.

The flies are made to sound light, delicate, and beautiful, as "they believe in heaven.", suggesting Plath does not. The last stanza of the poem represents finality, which we presume Plath may be talking about ending her life, when she says "The only thing to come now is the sea." Plath uses onomatopoeia with "slapping its phantom laundry in my face." It is effective as it shows the wind as harsh and abrupt. The poem is about nature at the start, and its is warm and loving toward the blackberries, but in the end, she uses the phrase "beating and beating at an intractable metal" as a sign of death, and being trapped in her life. The berries and juice are compliant

In the poem "Blackberry-Picking" by Seamus Heaney, a descriptive and detailed account of picking blackberries is given. He uses many adjectives to do with colour to make the picture seam more real, tasty and ready to eat, such as "glossy purple clot", and "red, green, hard as a knot." This appeals to the reader in a sense that we want to read on and we are amazed at the language. This poem is contrasting, as in the first part, Heaney uses words such as "glossy" and "sweet flesh", and the second part uses "fur" and "rat grey fungus" which sounds ugly and uninviting. The poem is really telling us about life in general. The feeling of getting our hopes up, and the disappointment that we experience in our daily lives. Being so joyful and enthusiastic about something one moment, and distraught and unhappy the next.

The first stanza describes the sumptuous berries, and the second is describing how he plans to keep them, and the third leads to the disappointment that is faced. Heany transforms a normal fruit into a magical delectable act of nature, using the word "lust" which displays a strong desire for the fruit. He demonstrates this enthusiasm by naming all the different containers in the sense that they were picked out carelessly and without any thought absent mindedly in a very eager state. The ending of the poem shows us that there are always disappointments in our lives, and things that we have to be aware of, and that life isn't all sweet. The phrase "Each year, I hoped they would keep, but knew they would not," is telling us that Heaney got his hopes up, but a small part of him knew that in the end he would be let down.

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How do Heaney and Plath present their feelings in the blackberry poems?. (2017, Sep 23). Retrieved from

How do Heaney and Plath present their feelings in the blackberry poems?
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