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How do the writers of Mid-Term Break and Once Upon a Time Explore the Ways in which people conceal or show their emotions

How do the writers of Mid-Term Break and Once Upon a Time Explore the Ways in which people conceal or show their emotions

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Published by William Burn
An A* answer to a recent GCSE question on the Edexcel Identity poetry. It includes feedback and comments.
An A* answer to a recent GCSE question on the Edexcel Identity poetry. It includes feedback and comments.

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Published by: William Burn on Apr 26, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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06/04/2010

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How do the writers of 
Once Upon a Time
and
Mid-Term Break 
explore ways in which people show or conceal their emotions?Both Seamus Heaney’s
Mid-Term Break 
and Gabriel Okara’s
Once Upon a Time
explore how childhood affects the portrayal of emotion. Sophisticated, adulttechniques such as metaphor and euphemisms attempt to conceal true emotions,whilst simplistic language possessing childhood innocence often displays true feeling.The perspective of the narrator impacts on the way the authors write about peopledisplaying emotion. Okara speaks as an adult as he implores ‘believe me, son’.Perhaps as a result of the experienced voice, the language is often figurative as helaments how people ‘only laugh with their teeth.’ This metaphor of saying the laughcomes from the teeth implies aggression, as with the bared fangs of a wild animal.Furthermore, the portrayal of such language with deeper or hidden meaning is itself ademonstration of not displaying one’s true emotions outright.In contrast,
Mid-Term Break 
is taken from the viewpoint of a child. The language isgenerally a more literal description, such as how ‘the baby cooed and laughed androcked the pram’. When the young Heaney is alone with his dead brother there ismore genuine emotion in the writing and he describes his brother ‘wearing a poppy bruise.’ This metaphor has the effect of displaying Heaney’s tender, loving feelingsas a poppy is a delicate, even beautiful comparison to draw. It is this honesty thatOkara is keen that his son – the other child in the poems – doesn’t lose. Furthermore,he begs him to ‘show me, son, how to laugh.Here, Okara uses simple language,unlike earlier where he spoke of having a ‘homeface, officeface’. The moments of simplicity and childish innocence are where true emotion is expressed in the poems.An example of the opposing, adult tendency to conceal true emotions is shown in
Mid-Term Break 
through euphemism. Heaney is comforted about the ‘hard blow’ hisfamily has suffered. However, whilst an attempt is made to avoid truth, this Freudianslip demonstrates the idea that true emotion will always come out, as Heaney’s brother was killed by a car accident.It is ultimately the more adult techniques that are employed when true emotions are being concealed. Innocent, simplistic language of childhood is used to display truths.The idea that true emotion prevails is displayed in Jim Evan’s slip and Okara’s plea toreturn to a childhood position when he ‘used to laugh like you.’
What I liked
:
The close, detailed attention to language, and sensitive analysis of it;
The way points were linked with
conjunctions
The confident use of technical terminology
What could he have done better?
He could have developed his analysis to explore some points further,such as the comment on true emotions always coming out: what doyou think Heaney is saying about
language
here?

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