Analysis The Railway Children by Seamus Heaney
When you actually read through the poem and look back at the title you can see that it is a touching home that portrays a world reduced to the dimensions of a child’s imagination. And if you look there at the very first line you’ve got the alliterative “when we” okay and the collective pronoun used here really generates an uplifting tone. You can see that it’s exciting to explore and engage with this area near his childhood home. It’s part of a group of children many siblings exploring their neighborhood. And you’ve got more literation “we were eye level with the white cups” okay and white cups as well is childlike diction before the porcelain insulators between copper wires and wooden poles. As you can see that there’s childlike averages used to hold a throw at this poem used to convey the childlike perspective of wonder or excitement. Then you’ve got the kind of sibilant signed pulls and sizzling wires pose sizzling wires and you’ve got that one a lot of hair there which reinforces the palpable excitement or buzz felt by the children.
Next paragraph or next stanza sorry you’ve got “like lovely” you have again Heaney simple descriptions lovely. And then you’ve got the literate ll signs pleasant signs English has a fascination with the cables. And there’s also simile which suggests the elegance of the wires are a childlike appreciation for the beauty of their design. You’ve got the repetition of miles and miles and the juxtaposition of east and west which reinforces how this child’s view is really expansive okay that the nature of the wire is one that is expansive it feels like it stretches on for miles and miles. And beyond us further reinforces that there is imagery of communication and because there are young children they lack the development or knowledge of communicating about the adult world that is beyond them both figuratively and literally beyond us is in the stretching light visually and then also beyond the realms of comprehension. And then you’ve got under their burden and you’ve got lots of assonance throughout these throughout this line and reflecting the durability of the wire it’s really sturdy.
Next stanza “we were small and thought we knew nothing” you’ve got again alliteration and you’ve got the use of this collective pruning. There is a sense in this line of the children’s feeling of insignificance. There are alliterative w saurons reinforcing the nostalgic tone of the recollections and nothing worth knowing we thought words traveled the wires and you’ve got more alliteration throughout here. And the repetition of we thought really reinforces the idea that their makeup for their uncertainty about the adult world with this vivid childlike imagination. The words traveling the wires it’s beautiful. And shiny pouches is obviously a metaphor they’re not really shiny pouches. It suggests that these children are really young maybe even below school age but the metaphors and imagery shows that they’re blessed with a really fertile imagination despite their young age.
And then you’ve got “seeded full with light” and young Heaney‘s deductions of the material world are colored by his experiences of the hence the idea of water and seed and delight and growth throughout this poem. The poem “The Railway Children” also culminates with this belief that with God’s grace he will enter Heaven. Then we’ve also got “of the sky the gleam of the lines and ourselves so infinitesimally scaled” and this reflection of the image in translucent water droplet the idea that everything in that rule of three there the sky the gleam of the lines under selves is all captured within this little tiny droplet. Infinitesimally scaled you’ve got exceedingly small again a metaphor you can see that he views the sky the real the tracks and wires and all as being quite small in comparison to the wider world beyond the small childish one that he’s currently inhabiting.
The very final line of “The Railway Children” that stands on its own “we could stream through the eye of a needle” is quite biblical there’s lots of biblical imagery here. And there’s a religious reference it has associations with the entrance to heaven in the Bible. The camel could only enter the narrow entrance to the city of Jerusalem if it’s squeezed through on its knees depicting how humbly one should approach God and how unburdened to you. And the open vile signs eye of a needle and the kind of assonance signs there expresses freedom okay and there’s frequent use of enjambment through it.
The structure there’s four triplets and then a single line reflecting the simplicity of childhood. There’s not really a rhyme scheme. And you’ve got free verse and the tone is not a nostalgic wistful there’s childhood innocence and there’s all an adventure.