'Mid-Term Break' Glossary

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sick bay


sick bay : The sick bay is that part of a boarding school where students go when they are sick. The young Heaney has been put there to wait to be collected by the neighbours who are bringing him home.




knelling : The slow steady strokes of a bell at a funeral service is like the sound of an old school bell announcing the changes of class in school. Heaney is comparing the ringing of the bells in a school to the ringing of bells announcing a death or a funeral




cooed : The soft murmuring sound of a young baby. The manner of communication used by a baby before it learns to talk. Heaney's sibling has no idea what has happened and is happy to see Seamus back in the house.





stanched : Stopping the flow of blood, often done by applying pressure on a wound.






snowdrops : A flower. Snowdrops symbolize the renewal of life that comes in the spring, or perhaps eternal life beyond the grave for those who have died. Perhaps because it is a flower with a drooping head, it is associated with death.






poppy bruise : When Heaney looks at his brother and sees the 'poppy bruise' this is a metaphor as it can represent both the colour of the boy's bruise and the fact that poppies are a traditional symbol of death.



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