A Deeper Understanding Of Blackberries - Analyze the literal and deeper meaning behind Seamus Heaney's poem, "Blackerry-Picking".

Essay by AnonymousHigh School, 12th gradeA+, September 2007

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In Seamus Heaney’s poetic piece, Blackberry Picking, the presence and mastery of malicious diction, vivid imagery, and metaphor is apparent as is a deeper meaning behind the author’s poem. Heaney’s writings not only convey a literal description of his actions, but also an emotional and metaphorical journey through his experience.

The sensual word choice ever-present in Heaney’s poem illuminated his love for blackberries whilst portraying a deeper meaning. The diction is generally creative and descriptive, giving the poem a sort of whimsical bliss. When paired with the personified words that describe the blackberries, however, the tone takes a bit of a gruesome twist. While using words such as flesh to represent the berry’s skin, blood as the flavor, and words such as lust, rot, sour, et cetera to add in the description, comparison can be made to the desires of Bluebeard. The sticky berry juice on Heaney’s hands is compared to the bloody “hands [that were] as sticky as Bluebeard’s”; the sweet fleshy taste the author thirsted for so strongly is in resemblance to Bluebeard’s craving for real flesh and blood Bluebeard yearned for.

Bold imagery apparent, this conveys a literal description of the process of picking blackberries, yet also a deeper meaning introduced by the mention of Bluebeard; the cycle of life and death. The author waits for the luscious blackberries to ripen and turn into big, swollen treats, and then plucks them from their bushels. He stores them in a barn for later feasting, but returns to find his blackberries rotted and dead. Noticing the lifelike diction that contributes to the personified image of the blackberries, one cannot help but see the cycle of life and death presented through the blackberries; this all comes back to the slaying, slaughtering Bluebeard, who is also a representation of the...