The poem “The Early Purges” by Seamus Heaney is about animals which are put to death because they were needless in the human life. The title tells us that something was cleared out young in its life. The word purges means ‘getting rid of’ and early means that the animals were young. The writer tells us in the poem of how he saw the kittens drowned and how he thought it cruel, but he then grows up and tells us that it may seem cruel, but that was what life was like on the farm. He shows that he was young by starting of with “I was six when I first saw kittens drown”.
This would be very shocking to someone as young. In the second sentence he says “the scraggy wee shits”. There is some harsh language used here and also, it shows that Dan Taggart could be Irish and so was Seamus Heaney. It says “pitched them”, and this tells us that Dan Taggart was none too gentle with the kittens and that he had seen it happening to the animals, too many times to feel sorry for them. Then it says “a frail, metal sound” and this shows a weak and fragile sound and it shows how helpless the kittens were. This stanza introduces Dan Taggart and shows of how life was on the farm.
From the line “soft paws scraping like mad”, it shows how helpless they were as they were panicking and desperate to escape. The next sentence says “but their tiny din was soon soused”. Soon soused means stopped and after this sentence we realise that the cats have drowned in the bucket. Also in the same sentence the writer says “slung on the snout”. This is more alliteration. Dan Taggart in the next verse says “Sure isn’t it better for them now”. From this it tells us that he thinks he did the right thing as he thought that the cats were pests running around on the farm, wasting food and time.
The cats had no purpose so what was the point of them living so he killed them. The next two sentences “like wet gloves, they bobbed and shone till he sluiced them out on the dung hill, glossy and dead. This shows that the writer had a very detailed memory of the scene and still remembered it all the way from his childhood. Also, from the way the verse ends with a full stop, it shows that the verse ended with finality and it was quite dramatic. The fifth paragraph says that Seamus was really shocked by what had happened and what he had seen and it uses verbs like trapped and snared.
And from the fourth verse he describes the cats as “turn mealy and crisp as old summer dung”. This shows that he had a great memory recall and that the image stuck in his brain. The sixth verse is quite harsh and now he wasn’t shocked of the purging because he says “Still, living displaces false sentiments, and now, when shrill pups are prodded down to drown, I just shrug, ‘bloody pups’, it makes sense”. This clearly shows that he has changed hi opinion of what he had seen in his childhood. He now understands why the animals were killed on the farms and now doesn’t care if he kills them himself.
From the sentence above again shows that he knows why they are killed. The last verse shows the proper meaning of the poem. This stanza tells us that he sees animals give birth and die. Dead or dying animals are natural. If they don’t have a purpose in life on the farm then they have no purpose ling. In towns, the deliberate death of animals isn’t common or natural, so if they find it hard they must realise that everyone dies then decomposes. From the poem cat, the background is of a man that impersonates a cat and describes how he sneaks out of the house to his greenhouse.
The poem ‘The Early Purges’ is about how farm life may seem cruel but is purposeful. ‘The early Purges’, I think, is better because it is a fact and is based on events on farms. Even though ‘Cat’ gives a positive mood, it is quits imaginative. The early purges has a bit more negative mood but we soon understand that it’s the only way. For ‘Cat’, the words are simple but it makes the reader understand, but for ‘early purges’, it is very descriptive and also it is in an Irish accent for e. g. the words “scraggy wee shits” and “soused” and “sure isn’t it better for them now”.
For ‘Cat’ the words are still of a positive mood but for ‘early purges’, there are harsh words such as “shot dead”, “scraggy wee shits”, “bloody pups” and “sudden tug”. However, this brings reality into the verse. ‘Cat’ has no rhyme or rhythm but early purges has got a regular rhythm like each verse has got 3 lines and each line have 11 syllables. In ‘Cat’, there are more interesting techniques for example there is more repetition like for “the azaleas… “, 3 times, onomatopoeia for “hush and touch” and alliteration for “flattening my fur”.
In ‘The early Purges’, the writer uses some rhyme and rhythm to show how on well rune farms, pests have to be kept down and the writer keeps the poem flowing like a story till the end and as an event through his life. Both the poems are quite imaginative as they have a lot of description that might enable us to picture what is going on in our heads. For ‘Cat’, there are lots of examples like the whole poem shows how a cat would sneak about, and as cats are common, we can get a clear picture of what is happening.
It says in the poem that the writer is “sometimes an unseen marmalade cat”, and this gives us a picture of a special and unique colour cat. In ‘early purges’, they use a simile, like “wet gloves” and this gives us a picture of something that is waterlogged and these things make the poems realistic or let us imagine what is actually happening. The stanza of ‘Cat’ is written into no visible form of verses or anything because the poem is actually 1 continuous journey about a cat on the way to the greenhouse.
The viewpoint of ‘Cat’ is of a writer called Alan Brownjohn, who describes himself by using personification to show how he sneaks of to the greenhouse and goes to sniff the flowers. This poem is a gentle and flowing poem and is quite positive. ‘The early Purges’ is by the writer Seamus Heaney. He uses the poem to tell us that animals grown on the farm would have to be killed to save time and energy as well as money. The kittens were like pests and they had no purpose on the farm so they had to be killed. This poem is quite harsh but that’s just the way life is.