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What Techniques Does Seamus Heaney Use to Create a Vivid and Unusual Image of a Fish in His Poem, ‘Trout’?

  • Date Submitted: 10/25/2010 04:29 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 62.9 
  • Words: 767
  • Essay Grade: 4,00 /5 (2 Graders)
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The theme of this poem is about a ‘Trout.’ We can picture the texture, movement shape and size of the fish with the variety of similes and metaphors he uses. The tone of the poem is awe and admiration and delight in the skill of the fish. Yet, we also get a notion of fear of the power of the trout. The writer has made us get an unusual image of the trout by comparing the somewhat harmless trout to weapon, thus making the trout seem powerful and deadly.
We also get this vivid and unusual image of the trout from his detailed description. Seamus Heaney shows the shape of the trout from the phrases such as, “Hangs a fat gun barrel.” This shows the fish is rounded and big. Other key descriptions are described from the phrase “slips like butter” indicating the trout has a smooth and slippery texture; the phrases “fired from the shallows” and “darts like a tracer bullet” suggesting the movement and speed of the fish is fast and swift.
As I have said the writer compares the fish to a gun to make the poem unusual and portrays this using a range of similes and metaphors. Similes for example, “darts like a tracer bullet,” showing the speed and danger of the fish. Metaphors such as “Hangs, a at gun barrel” This is introduced at the start of the poem so straight away we get the impression of a gun. Another metaphor is “his muzzle gets bull’s eye”. We often state muzzle as in the end of a gun and associate bull’s eye with a bow and arrow two lethal weapons. Also it indicates the fish is very precise and accurate making it seem more fatal and powerful. Seamus Heaney also uses single word metaphors, which are jus as effective, such as “torpedoed”. This suggests the writer has again tried to associate power and speed with the fish however this time he has used a missile. Other phrases which again show the comparison are “he is fired from the shallows” shows how fast the fish is and “white belly reporting/flat” depicts the dominance of the trout. The writer has used the word...


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  1. i am awesome
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    • Apr 17, 2011 - Evaluator: (bellend)
    • very good analysis