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Heaney Letter

  • Date Submitted: 11/22/2013 11:09 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 73.6 
  • Words: 1193
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In this poem, Heaney describes props. Props are the things in a room or scene. Props are the things that belong to someone. The props often reveal what a person is like.
What is the policeman’s name? What does his face look like? How tall is he?
These are unanswered questions. The poem focuses on the impact the policeman had on Heaney. Heaney describes the policeman’s props in a way that shows his power and attitude.
Heaney’s descriptions show his childish imagination. Heaney’s words show his fears.
The props in this poem include a bicycle, a uniform, a book, a baton and a gun.
Heaney describes these props in such a way that he persuades us to dislike the policeman.

In the first stanza, Heaney describes the policeman’s bicycle. He tells us some facts about the bicycle:
‘His bicycle stood at the window-sill’.
He describes its mud splasher, fixed to the mudguard. The bicycle was neat.
Heaney uses the bicycle to tell us how he felt about the policeman in the fourth line:
‘fat black handlegrips’.
This description is ugly. A child would fear something ‘fat’ and ‘black’. Heaney chooses words that tell us how Catholic families on farms viewed the police. The child Heaney imagines that the bicycle was as horrible as the policeman. In Heaney’s imagination, the bicycle was alive. It was ‘fat’ and it ‘stood’. It frightened the child Heaney.

In the second stanza, Heaney describes a part that you don’t normally find on a bicycle today: ‘spud of the dynamo’. Nowadays, batteries power bicycle lights. He uses the phrase ‘cocked back’. That phrase reminds us of the trigger of a gun. It shows that Heaney thought the policeman was dangerous. The policeman seemed to be prepared for violence. The words show us the fear young Heaney had.
Then Heaney shows his feeling that the policeman was a heavy man. He suggests that the pedal was relieved when the policeman got off. This description shows the boy’s fear:
‘the boot of the law’.
He felt the boot might injure his...


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