Writing In A Time Of Violence English Literature Essay

Writing In A Time Of Violence English Literature Essay

How does Seamus Heaney concept myth in his aggregation North. To what extent does myth move as a positive force for societal regeneration? It is clear that Ireland possess ‘ a violent and labored political/cultural history. I believe Seamus Heaney ‘s aggregation North ( 1975 ) can be seen as a brooding history, of the Acts of the Apostless of force committed at the tallness of the Troubles in Northern Ireland. This introverted analysis of the bog organic structures by Heaney is a specific effort, to come to footings with the societal divisions built-in in the cultural landscape of Ireland. It is of import to see this as non merely an effort to foreground these concerns, but more specifically, Heaney seeks to lift above these societal divisions. The primary method used by Heaney in this attempt is seen in his usage of myth. This ( for Heaney ) allows for a better apprehension of the archetypical forces of force that shape the cultural landscape of Ireland. He mediates his manner through a spiritual individuality which has fractured and divided a society. The premiss of this essay is to discourse the extent to which the creative activity of myth within this aggregation, is seen as a positive force, which has the possible to renew 1s society.

The inspiration for his Bog Poems came from P.V. Glob ‘s book, The Bog Peoples: Iron Age Man Preserved ( 1969 ) , Glob ‘s book trades with the sacrificial victims of Iron-age Denmark, excavated from peat bogs. Heaney visited the Bog-site in Denmark in which he observed the preserved organic structure of the ‘Tollund Man ‘ ; this had a profound and insightful consequence upon him. Heaney began to explicate thoughts of the ‘Bog ‘ being, ‘the memory of the [ full ] landscape ‘ ( Heaney, 1980, p. 54 ) . He goes farther by stating that, ‘the unforgettable exposure of these victims blended in my head with exposure of atrociousnesss, yesteryear and nowadays, in the long rites of Irish political and spiritual battles ‘ ( Heaney, 1980, p. 57 ) . Heaney is pulling analogues here between sacrificial Iron-age violent deaths and the modern-day status of Northern Ireland. One can about see how he approaches the cultural landscape of Northern Ireland as a poetic archeologist. The land itself is a depository, in which memory itself is contained, specifically the cultural memory of the landscape is preserved in these peat bogs. Heaney ‘s ‘head-bowed ‘ poesy is really much focused on the demand for these memories to resurface. He hints at a, ‘resurrection ‘ ( Heaney, 1980, p. 58 ) of cultural memories, the thought of ‘resurrection ‘ is a pertinent disclosure here, for Heaney is consciously pulling upon the archetypical images of Death and Resurrection ( and prosecuting with those archetypical images ) to demo how his mythmaking can be a positive force for societal reclamation. He consciously attempts to demo there is a clear, ‘unrealised demand to do a congruity between memory and bogland ‘ for Heaney the two are inextricably linked, it was seen rather clearly, ‘as an answering of Irish myth ‘ ( Heaney, 1980, p.57 ) .

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In the verse form ‘Kinship ‘ we discover Heaney taking a, ‘step through origins/ like a Canis familiaris turning/ its memories of wilderness/ on the kitchen mat ‘ ( Heaney, 1996, l. 5-8 ) . The symbolic usage of a domesticated ‘dog… on the kitchen mat ‘ in my sentiment alludes to its remembrance of memories, specifically memories of the runing inherent aptitudes of its ascendant. Heaney himself follows along a similar way, weaving across the ‘memories of the wilderness. ‘ This fabulous wilderness serves as a context for understanding modern-day political and societal worlds. I think it pertinent to understand that Heaney is, ‘recognising his separation from beginnings ‘ here whilst trying to step through them. Heaney separates his experience, ‘as purposeful and rationally pursued ‘ down to a more cardinal, ‘instinctual, pre-conscious degree ‘ ( Andrews, 1988, p. 93 ) . I believe it is apparent that Heaney is cognizant that there is no rational or simple logic in seeking to work out the jobs of the Northern Irish ‘Troubles ‘ . However his efforts to tap into the, ‘instinctual, pre-conscious ‘ undertone of the Irish status, allows for the much deeper issues to be framed and contextualised.

Heaney negotiates his purposes by using a, ‘symbolic manner which laid bare non merely the barbarian tribal inherent aptitudes of the culprits of the force, but besides the archetypical atrocity of the struggle itself ‘ ( Foley, 1998, p 74 ) . Not merely is there an effort to dig deeper into the cultural political orientations of Northern Ireland here, but more specific attending is made towards the, ‘centre that house the hieroglyphs of civilization ‘ ( Tobin, 1999, p.127 ) . These ‘hieroglyphs ‘ Centres upon archetypical images, that are cosmopolitan in the fabulous landscape. Heaney non merely explores these images but intentionally surveies the non-rational, animalistic inherent aptitudes at a cardinal degree. When we view this through a Jungian position on psychological idea, we can see some similarities between ‘pre-conscious ‘ animalistic behavior and human behavior. Jung categorises this portion of the human mind as a state of affairs when, ‘you are seized by an emotion or a enchantment, and you behave in a certain manner you have non foreseen at all ‘ ( Walker, 1995, p.7 ) . Heaney taps into the unpremeditated Acts of the Apostless of force perpetrated by worlds and categorises these as being the implicative consequence, of archetypical images. If we take the ‘kitchen ‘ as an archetypical image of the homestead, it is representative of a primordial/primitive impression to devour nutrient. Yet this is the point, the impression of the crude implied here ( categorised by the kitchen ) in ‘Kinship ‘ is that these inherent aptitudes, like those of the Canis familiaris on the fireplace, are non easy tamed. Yet they are fostered by a pre-conscious instinctual nature, Heaney aligns the pre-conscious instinctual Acts of the Apostless with the unpremeditated Acts of the Apostless of force in the modern-day landscape of Northern Ireland.

We can see in, ‘Viking Dublin: Trial Pieces ‘ that Heaney as a poet archeologist is the ‘smeller of putrefaction ‘ ( Heaney, 1996, l.64 ) , as a consequence of Heaney ‘s enterprise he uncovers the icky facets of his civilizations inherited political orientations. The intensions of the word ‘rot ‘ , those of decay and putrescence infer a significance for the possible regenerative consequence to take topographic point, intentionally socially but besides poetically. We see here a actual decomposing, a transubstantiation into the peat bog of familial cultural political orientations. This is besides seen in the verse form ‘Kinship ‘ specifically with the, “ Mutant of weathers/ and seasons/ a windfall composing/the floor it rots into ” . The ‘Windfall ‘ represents a depriving down in the physical sense, this act of decomposition is juxtaposed with the act of ‘composing ‘ . I believe Heaney is touching to the profusion with which the landscape i.e. peat bogs offer him poetically. However there is besides inferred significance in that ‘composing ‘ could indicate more towards a Reconstruction of cultural values, this in bend points towards a societal regeneration on the Northern Irish landscape. This transmutation can besides be seen in ‘The Tollund Man ‘ , where the ‘dark juices ‘ of the goddess ‘ fen work on and transform her sacrificial victim into ‘a saint ‘s kept organic structure ‘ ( Heaney, 1972, l. 15-16 ) . The interesting thing to indicate out here is the symbolic representation of the Goddess, specifically the manner she transmutes ‘The Tollund Man ‘ into a holy sacrificial organic structure. Heaney contemplates praying to him but he ‘could put on the line blasphemy ‘ , he could besides put on the line blasphemy for speech production in direct footings about the struggle in Northern Ireland, this is one of the primary grounds for blanketing this aggregation in the kingdom of myth.

I believe myth to be a positive force in forcing for societal reclamation, Foley proposes that through ‘The Tollund Man ‘ Heaney, ‘seeks to ordain the land, transforming the caldron bog of hate and force into our sanctum land, and praying to him… to do the victims of the on-going struggle germinate into something new and positive ‘ ( Foley, 1998, p.65 ) . Heaney by deliberately bordering ‘The Tollund Man ‘ in a fabulous context of the problems, is pulling out subjects of rapprochement and societal transmutation, therefore leting it to ‘germinate into something new and positive ‘ . In the ‘Bog Queen ‘ Heaney alludes to darkened ideas that are like ‘a jar of spawn/ fermenting belowground ‘ ( Heaney, 1996, l.19-20 ) . Tobin histories for the darkened ideas of the ‘Bog Queen ‘ as the, ‘archetypal form that spawns the atrociousnesss of Northern Ireland ‘ ( Tobin, 1999, p.126 ) . It is Heaney ‘s ideas that are perceptive to the things that ferment underground, he is consciously concentrating upon the psychical act of contemplation on the, ‘ruminant land ‘ ( Heaney, Kinship, l.29 ) . Heaney takes a brooding attack towards, ‘the cooped secrets… [ poesy was ] procedure and ritual ‘ ( Heaney, Kinship, l.15-16 ) . The procedure and rite he attaches to poetic idea here is of import, contemplation through artistic agencies offers a way in which societal divisions can be bridged. What I am proposing is that linguistic communication, specifically poetical linguistic communication from this aggregation North is connected in some manner to the landscape. The ‘living roots ‘ ( Heaney, Digging, l.27 ) of the landscape awaken in the head of the poet, the violent Acts of the Apostless committed in the past and present, possibly it could be said that these are the first stairss in accommodating a divided society.

We can see how Heaney in the creative activity of these myth ‘s shows that, ‘primitive adult male is non much interested in nonsubjective accounts of the obvious ‘ for I believe his, ‘unconscious mind has an resistless impulse to absorb all outer sense experiences to inner, psychic events ‘ ( Jung, 1959, p.6 ) . Essentially Heaney in building a mythic world for the ‘Troubles ‘ , that ’embraces both outer and interior universes in a originative spirit ‘ ( Hughes, 1980, p.192 ) . This is echoed in the credence address given in reception of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995, for him poesy should be, ‘true to the impact of external world… [ whilst ] medium to the interior Torahs of the poets being ‘ ( Heaney, 1995, Internet beginning ) . The chief premiss of Heaney ‘s statement is that he views poesy as a Restoration of the civilization to itself, this coupled with Hughes thoughts of myth ‘s being, ‘the highest order of inspiration and truth ‘ ( Hughes, 1980, p.192 ) suggests that the usage of myth as a originative art signifier has the capableness to renew 1s society.

Claude Levi-Strauss in his survey into the ‘Structural Study of Myth ‘ argues that myth has the possibility to joint and associate events ( in our context violent atrociousnesss ) across clip and infinite. We see clearly that, ‘what gives the myth an operative value is that the specific form described is everlasting ; it explains the present and the yesteryear every bit good as the hereafter ‘ ( Levi-Strauss, 1955, p.430 ) . I believe Heaney articulately achieves this intent, a good illustration can be found in ‘Kinship ‘ towards the terminal of the verse form, both past and present societies, ‘slaughter for/ the common good ‘ ( Heaney, 1996, l.139-140 ) . Heaney ‘s oxymoronic undertone here is cardinal, he draws upon symbols of decease and forfeit in the name of ‘good ‘ . Heaney articulates and links modern-day atrociousnesss by concentrating upon the archetypical images of decease and forfeit. He draws upon these within a fabulous model to let yesteryear and nowadays to be linked for the benefit of societal regeneration. Heaney positions myth in a cyclical signifier, this allows him an nonsubjective infinite in which to research witting and pre-conscious tensenesss throughout clip and infinite. It is important for Heaney to pull the nexus between what happened so and compare this to the modern-day atrociousnesss of Northern Ireland, the fabulous model for his poesy best suits this effort. The Iron-age atrociousnesss could be viewed as the ‘inner ‘ symbols that reconcile with the ‘outer ‘ nonsubjective world in the modern-day Irish landscape ( Hughes, 1980, p.193 ) . The importance of myth harmonizing to Foley is for, ‘a deeper apprehension of our state of affairs and ourselves as single human existences ‘ ( Foley, 1998, p.72 ) , this I believe to be true, deep apprehension is needed in order for society to be progressive and a force for positive alteration.

Specifically how does this fabulous model and the poet ‘s voice operate as a progressive force for alteration? Heaney ‘s poem ‘Punishment ‘ has been criticised for the, ‘mythologizing bewilderment of historical worlds ‘ ( Purdy, 2002, p98 ) , Purdy here is reasoning that Heaney fails to reprobate force outright. It is viewed that the talkers voice is immobilised within this verse form, to talk out he may put on the line a similar destiny, he can merely offer her, ‘the rocks of silence ‘ ( Heaney, 1996, l.31 ) . The understanding for Heaney ‘s victim appears to fade out in an about expressed avowal of the pattern known as tarring and feathering. This I believe to be an simplism of the verse form, for basically Heaney, ‘understand [ s ] the exact/ and tribal, intimate retaliation ‘ ( Heaney, 1996, l.41-42 ) . Heaney empathises here with both the culprits and the victims of this ‘Punishment ‘ , he both sees and understands. Corcoran argues that the really act of, ‘understanding is besides a condoning ‘ ( Corcoran, 1986, p.116 ) , nevertheless I find this statement redundant, for the talker ‘connive [ s ] in civilized indignation ‘ ( Heaney, 1996, l.39-40 ) . I believe there is merely partial condoning of the Acts of the Apostless of force here, more significantly Heaney is suggestively implicating non merely the victim and the victimizers but besides himself. The multiple liabilities laid out here is important to the thought of patterned advance in social footings. The poet ‘s function, ‘is to stand on all sides and to accept the quag and complexnesss of the blood of the whole people ‘ ( King, 1986, p.94 ) . The of import thing to recognize is that by Heaney standing on all sides, he is giving a clear illustration that deep apprehension is critical to get the better ofing ‘Troubles ‘ in the face of violent Acts of the Apostless of atrociousness, rapprochement can merely be made if everyone is held accountable. Operating in the kingdom of myth allows Heaney to place the archetypical images, those that speak to us universally and let the strain of societal struggle to be eased to a certain grade. I believe that poesy as an art signifier operates in its ain kingdom of being, one that is separate from political relations, this being more concerned with practical solutions. In kernel poesy points towards a positive force within the cultural landscape of Northern Ireland.

Heaney attack ‘s the complexnesss of his societal environment by being inside and yet outside, affiliated yet detached from the concerns that he is discoursing. In the poem ‘Exposure ‘ Heaney accepts guilt and self-respect by saying, ‘I am neither internee nor betrayer ‘ ( Heaney, 1996, l.28 ) this line coupled with the stoping of ‘The Tollund Man ‘ where the talker is, ‘lost, / unhappy and at place ‘ ( Heaney, 1972, l.43-44 ) , being faced with such a moral complexness is both uncomfortable and disking. It is questionable to believe what the reader may take from these disking word pictures of ‘internee ‘s ‘ , treachery and development are initial averments when believing about this treatment. I deny both these inferred responses, the word picture is neither, farther I believe it facilitates greater understanding and empathy within society. It is of import that Heaney sees things from multiple angles and does n’t settle on simple averments ; the same can besides be said for the reader.

Through his poesy Heaney writes non merely within the really Centre of his civilization, yet at the same clip from exterior of that really civilization as good. The specific purpose on Heaney ‘s portion is an act of seeking to destabilize the Centre and later interrupt the civilizations cemented beliefs and prevailing positions. The specific consequence this has is important, Heaney decentralises the marginalised ‘North ‘ from dominant other groups e.g. English, Celtic. Heaney is successful in his efforts, he develops myth in order to decentralize his marginalised cultural tradition, he draws upon Greek and Norse mythology to make it this. These represent a diverse set of cultural traditions, by tapping into other cultural traditions it undermines the thought of Heaney composing within and for his ain cultural tradition.

In pulling on a complicated mix of linguistic communications and traditions within his poesy allows Heaney a wider frame of mention, it specifically allows him to link the different civilizations of Northern Europe together. By opening up to fabulous traditions and civilizations, Heaney is able to bring forth more inclusivity/diversity within Irish authorship and this is seen as a positive force for the societal regeneration of the cultural landscape. The thought of myths being cosmopolitan in nature is seen with shared hereditary beliefs, viz. the archetypical images of a Goddess being worshipped by Norse and Celtic communities. There is a common nexus here within the different cultural traditions of Northern Europe, Heaney uses his Gaelic hereditary mythology to tap into a ‘collective unconscious ‘ ( Jung, 1959. P7 ) . This is of import as this allows Heaney freedom in making a mythology that is non confined by a rigorous centralized set of beliefs and traditions. He works on the peripheries of force in Northern Ireland, in order to work through them. We can see how Heaney occupies an mediate place as talker, this is shown in ‘Punishment ‘ as I have highlighted antecedently. What is noticeable is Heaney ‘s efforts to graft local idioms into poesy chiefly presented in English, we see this with the, ‘inner emigrant ‘ and ‘wood-kerne ‘ of ‘Exposure ‘ ( Heaney, 1996, l.31-32 ) . Heaney besides reference ‘ the negative facets of his Celtic yesteryear, this is seen in, ‘the old man-killing parishes ‘ of The Tollund Man ( Heaney, 1972, l.42 ) and in ‘Kinship ‘ besides where, ‘we slaughter/ for the common good ‘ ( Heaney, 1996, l. 139-140 ) . In pulling on these negative facets of Northern Ireland ‘s civilization, Heaney is deducing that poesy should be at that place to bring forth a sense of multiplied blameworthiness, where no-one is guiltless and where everyone should, ‘feel each air current that blows ‘ ( Heaney, 1996, l.36 ) .

Throughout this essay I have discussed the changing utilizations of myth within Seamus Heaney ‘s aggregation North. Working within and through the kingdom of myth, allowed Heaney the chance re-dream the fractured universes and communities of the Irish landscape. Busying this mediate infinite allows Heaney a opportunity to accommodate differences and by proposing multiple blameworthiness for the Acts of the Apostless of force committed, goes a long manner in mending a divided society. Poetry in this context enables rapprochement to happen by disputing essentialist truths. Poetry and myth together can potentially alter the positions of society as a whole by advancing multiple point of views of the effects that the ‘Troubles ‘ had on the landscape. One must nevertheless see the restrictions of poesy and myth. They are non practical solutions to political differences and can non physically move in order to bring forth alteration, but poesy blended with myth does hold the capableness to be ‘the highest order of inspiration and truth ‘ ( Hughes, 1980, p.192 ) . It is the inspiration that it suggests that is the endearing quality, it offers an avenue which allows the person to be inspired to do existent practical alteration on a ‘conscious ‘ and ‘preconscious ‘ degree. I believe that coupled together it has the possible to be of a higher art signifier, as it occupies the kingdom of the imaginativeness.

Word Count: 3161


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