CCEA GCSE Heaney and Hardy - Context

  • Created by: alreidx
  • Created on: 01-10-13 02:37

Allan Reid - 



Heaney – List E

Hardy – List F

·        Thatcher

·        Blackberry-Picking

·        At A Potato Digging (Section 1)

·        Last Look

·        An Advancement in Learning

·        Trout

·        The Old Workman

·        Wagtail and Baby

·        A Sheep Fair

·        At Castle Boterel

·        An August Midnight

·        Overlooking the River Stour












List E – Seamus Heaney


-         Taken from Heaney’s 1969 collection ‘Door into the Dark’.

-         The collection, overall deals with vanishing trades and skills such as thatching, field-ditching and forging.

-         Heaney adopts a metaphorical role of thatcher, similar to the persona of the Blacksmith he adopts in ‘The Forge’ – also in this collection.

-         Greek Mythology – Midas; a King that had the power to turn anything or anyone he wanted into gold by the touch of a finger.



-         Heaney uses his childhood memory from the 1940s and 50s of blackberry-picking to show how simplistic tasks such as this one can build hope up for it to disappoint almost overnight.

-         The poem belongs to his collection of work, ‘Death of a Naturalist’ which overall depicts childhood experiences that influence the formulation of adult identities and rural life.

-         Bluebeard – a fictional character from French folklore who was a violent nobleman who murdered his wives.


At A Potato Digging – Section 1

-         Dates from the late 1960’s; taken from his ‘Death of a Naturalist’ anthology.

-         Farming methods in the 1960’s still relied on the manual labour that existed in the 19th century. Many people depended upon a single crop: the potato.

-         The Famine God – known as ‘Fear Gorta’ – was a phantom of hunger resembling an emaciated human. In fact, many believe he was a harbinger of famine, especially in the 1940s, and that his spirit originally rose from a patch of hungry grass.


Last Look

-         Taken from his 1984 collection of poems ‘Station Island’, which deals with the quest for self-identity.

-         Heaney refers to local Irish people throughout much of his poetry such as ‘At a Potato Digging’, ‘The Other Side’ and of course, ‘Last Look’.

-         The man in the poem is connected to Irish mythology; the legend of Niamh and Oisin


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