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Cultural referencesseamus heaneypoetry

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Cultural referencesseamus heaneypoetry

  1. 1. Irish Cultural References in the Early Poetry of Seamus Heaney<br />
  2. 2. ‘Turf’ (Peat)<br /> Turf is a combustible fuel<br /><ul><li>Peat, or turf, is an accumulation of partially decayed vegetation matter 
  3. 3. Peat forms in wetland bogs, moors, and  swamp forests.
  4. 4. Peat is harvested as an important source of fuel </li></li></ul><li>The ‘good’ (best burning) turf is found deep down in the bog.<br />Heaney uses the metaphor about digging <br />‘Down for the good turf’ to show how he needs to dig deep into himself to produce his best poetry.<br />
  5. 5. ‘Turf’ (Peat) Spade<br />“Shaft against the inside knee”<br />“Coarse boot nestled on the lug”<br />The ‘L’ shape of the spade helped to make sure the sods of ‘turf’ were ‘squared’<br />
  6. 6. Flax<br />Flax was a very important crop for the Irish economy. <br />It was used to manufacture everything from writing paper, to rope, and was predominantly use in the ‘Linen’ industry, for which Ireland was once world famous.<br />
  7. 7. Irish linen tea set<br />Irish linen suit<br />
  8. 8. The ‘Flax Dam’<br />“All year the flax-dam festered in the heart<br />Of the townland”<br />Not a ‘dam’ in the real sense, but a large pool of water where the flax plant stems were placed in order to rot the tough exterior, so that the fibrous insides could be easily separated out.<br />
  9. 9. Flax<br />Raw material ready to be used for linen<br />Dried flax plant<br />Interior fibres<br />
  10. 10. An Irish country school<br />A typical Irish farm of the period<br />
  11. 11. Traditional Irish bread was cooked on a ‘griddle’ over an open peat fire<br />This traditional bread is know as ‘soda bread’ and is a still widely eaten in Ireland today.<br />This type of peat fire, similar to this, would have been present in the kitchen of Seamus Heaney’s home on the farm.<br />
  12. 12. The Plough<br />A combination of factors make horse-ploughing a skilled job.<br />The ploughman must ensure that the ‘furrows’ the plough makes are straight, manipulate the plough, and control the horses – it is to ensure that all the possible farming land is used economically. <br />
  13. 13. “His shoulders globed like a full sail strung<br />Between two shafts and the furrow”<br />“I stumbled in his hob-nailed wake,<br />Fell sometimes on the polished sod”<br />
  14. 14. potatoes<br />During the 19th century, almost a 1/3 of the population depended solely on potatoes for their daily nutrition. When the potato crops began to fail between 1845 and 1851, around 1 in eight of a population of 8 million died of starvation, permanently changing the demographic, political and cultural landscape of the nation.<br />
  15. 15. Potatoes are still a mainstay of the Irish diet, but they will always be a reminder of what is know as the ‘Great Hunger’<br />“To scatter new potatoes that we picked<br />Loving their cool hardness in our hands.”<br />

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