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‘Thatcher’ – Heaney and ‘Old Workman’ – Hardy

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The “Thatcher” – Heaney and “Old Workman” – Hardy essay sample is devoted to a comparative analysis of two outstanding litterateurs through their works. Heaney’s hero is distinguished by his vital endurance and vast experience as a good laborer. Hardy’s personage, despite a touch of reality, still retains a certain amount of irrationality. Penmen, first of all, tend to show the humanity of a simple workman, who day by day methodically and painstakingly fulfills his routine duties.

“Thatcher” – Heaney and “Old Workman” – Hardy Example of essay also highlights differences between the authors. If “Thatcher” represents some ode to a traditional craft, the “Old Workman” resembles a psychological drama, without a historical excursion to the craftsman’s workshop. Heaney frankly and sincerely praises his wage earner, whereas Hardy sees in this destiny the road to premature spiritual aging.

Compositions differ in the style of writing. In “Thatcher”, the writer uses iambs and rhymes, with an irregular rhythm. Success is served by old-fashioned phrases, metaphors, images of objects designed to demonstrate certain character traits of the protagonist. Hardy builds his literary work in a dialogue format, resorting to the Socratic method of searching for the truth. The litterateur is stingy in names, preferring the faceless term “mason”. In the plot, we meet some unspoken mystery of the mansion, which its inhabitants only guess. But the atmosphere of fear and inner tension accompanies the entire narrative.

Drawing parallels, it could be noted that Heaney is more straightforward, unlike Hardy. His poem is regarded as the embodied metaphor of a caring parent, ready to sacrifice himself for the sake of a child. But our penmen are united by a sense of pride for a simple worker, which they are trying to convey through literary language.

The thatcher described from outsidethe mason speaks for himself Heaney accents strangeness and skill Hardy emphasises endurance Although methodical, there is a touch of the magical to the thatcher.We appreciate the mason’s humanity and kindness, rather than his skill.

Similarities and differences in the poets’ attitudes and the candidates’ personal preference:

What each poem is about:
•A description of a local workman: his manner, equipment, and work-materials.
•praise for the skill of the workman;
•the survival of a traditional craft.
The Old Workman
•An old stone-mason explains to a questioner why he has aged prematurely.

Candidates’ response to use of language:
•loose iambic pentameters, hinted rhyme (loosely decasyllabic lines, with irregular rhythm and hinted rhyme);
•the thatcher is in demand, conveyed by an old-fashioned phrase: “bespoke for weeks”;
•slow to start, his preparations are unhurried, and materials are tested before use;
•he is methodical and well-prepared: “laid out well-honed blades”;
•There are ideas of him slowly mastering the material “handful by handful”.

The image of the staple shows him getting it under control;
•heraldic term “couchant” may suggest the strangeness of the man and his work;
•verbs “shaved…. flushed…. stitched” convey meticulousness;
•honeycomb image suggests intricacy of what he constructs;
•his audience, hitherto invisible, appear only as admiring gapers in final line – “they” – anonymous in the face of his skill;
•The transmuting Midas image concludes this poem of praise. The Old Workman
•poem in dialogue form, question and answer – the mason’s apologia for his life;
•rhymed quatrains, conversational rhythms;
•use of technical terms: “quoin”, “ashlar”, “freestone”;
•word “mansion” suggests social gulf between workman and his employers;
•permanence of his work;
•his sudden injury conveyed onomatopoeically, “crack”;
•echoed by his dialect description of himself as “crookt”;
•separation of workman and employer, poor and rich, is conveyed in several ways;
•his satisfaction that he has benefited his employers conveyed in dialect phrase “right and tight”;
•He has the workman’s satisfaction that his work will outlast him.

Candidates’ awareness of contexts:
Candidates may show awareness of some of the following:
•traditional crafts in Ulster;
•Heaney’s childhood in Co. Derry;
•Hardy’s father was a stone-mason
•ideas of the skilled craftsman and pride in one’s work;
•the reference to the mason’s “life’s ache “ evokes a world where an injured workman received no incapacity benefits, but worked on.

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