A Drink of Water Essay

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Carolyn Meyer holds a Ph.D. in modern British and Irish literature and has taught contemporary literature at several Canadian universities, including the University ofToronto. In the following essay, Meyer expounds on the symbolism of the pump and the old woman that draws the water in Heaney's "A Drink of Water" as well as the writer's use of the sonnet form for the poem. She also describes the elegiac nature of the verse.

"A Drink of Water," from Heaney's 1979 collection Field Work, is a poem about the strength to be drawn from what lies closest to home. Elsewhere in the volume Heaney mourns the friends and relatives lost to the hatreds and bloodlusts of Northern Ireland's "Troubles" and earnestly reflects on issues of the artist's social responsibility. Here, however, he finds solace and respite from that crisis in the solid traditionalism of the sonnet form and in the...

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This section contains 2,047 words
(approx. 6 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the A Drink of Water Study Guide
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Poetry for Students
A Drink of Water from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.