Seamus Heaney Writing Styles in A Drink of Water

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"A Drink of Water" is a sonnet, a traditional poetic form characterized by its fourteen-line length and its use of a set rhyme scheme. Although there are many variations on the sonnet form, most are based on the two major types: Petrarchan (Italian) and Shakespearean (English). In different ways, "A Drink of Water" resembles both. While its rhyme scheme is that of the Shakespearean form—three quatrains rhyming or half-rhyming abab cdcd efef, followed by a couplet rhyming gg—its thematic division most closely follows the Petrarchan model. In this type of sonnet, the first eight lines, or the octave, generally present some kind of question, doubt, desire, or vision of the ideal. The last six lines, or the sestet, generally answer the question, ease the doubt, satisfy the desire, or fulfill the vision. In Heaney's poem, the first eight lines examine the image of the old woman who...

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This section contains 232 words
(approx. 1 page 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.