The Lammas Hireling by Ian Duhig Revision

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  • The Lammas Hireling by Ian Duhig
    • What is the poem about?
      • 1) A narrative using mythology to relay how someone was hired to work on a farm but turned out to be a warlock.
      • 2) Raises questions about morality, denied sexuality and unreliable narration.
    • Title
      • 'Lammas' festival on first day of August Northern Ireland where labour for harvest is hired.
      • 'Hireling' temporary labour.
    • Structure
      • -One speaker, follows narrative, 1st person.
      • Something sinister is revealed about the speaker though they are not aware of it themselves.
      • Cyclical
    • Tone
      • Irish dialect.
      • Measured and methodical as if trying to hide or deny the truth.
    • Techniques
      • References to archaic language and folklore 'elf shot' 'heifer' 'muckle'
      • Violent metaphor 'blew the small hours through his heart.' Transgression
      • Simile 'like a stone mossing'
      • Duplicitous language 'lovely head' reveal deeper meanings.
    • Themes
      • Guilt, violence, Catholicism, transgression.
      • Questions: How much is he confessing? Is he homosexual? What happened to his wife? Was he really a warlock?


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