Critical analysis of “Casting And Gathering” by Seamus Heaney

Critical Analysis of Casting and Gathering by Seamus Heaney. It includes introduction, definition of title, political and didactic purposes and style.


Poem is dedicated to Ted Hughes, who is a fisher man and friend of Seamus Heaney.

Definition of the title


Casting means throwing/ put a side. It also refers to right hand side political party “ The Capitalists”. Their motto was “individual is everything”.


Gathering means to collect/ harvest. It also refers to left hand side political party “ The Socialists”. Their motto was “individual belong to society”.

Political purposes

This poem shows the conflict between two political parties. One is Capitalists and second is Socialists. The purpose of both the parties is same as the well being of humanity. Seamus Heaney used the words Hush and lush. It means fear of war and hope of progress. Due to the conflict between two parties people feel the fear of war and have the hope of progress. Seamus Heaney Writes that They can compromise on their action or to make their commitment better. They escape for the time being and makes new strategies.

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Critical analysis of “Personal Helicon” Written by “Seamus Heaney”

Critical Analysis of Personal Helicon by Seamus Heaney consist of introduction, definition of title, literal meaning of the poem, deeper meaning of the poem, use of imagery, use of symbols, use of Greek mythology and style.


This poem was first published in 1966 in the book “Death of Naturalist”. The poem is dedicated to Michael Longley who is a poet and friend of Seamus Heaney.

Definition of title


Personal means the poet’s own life and experiences/Autobiographical elements.


Helicon is the  name of a mountain in Greek mythology where nine muses live. The streams run down from this mountain gives the power to write poetry who drink from it, means poetic inspiration. Poet was inspired by this myth. So, the title suggest that “Personal Helicon ” means The poet’s own inspiration.

Literal meanings of the poem

In Ireland there were many wells with names of saints and poet was inspired by the wells. In his childhood he plays near the wells and watched the drawing of water with the help of bucket from wells. Wells as the way of personal reflection and understanding of natural world. Wells are doorways to underground world. Poet saw the reflection of sky in well and think it that sky trapped in a well. Now poet is older and wiser. His thirst for knowledge increases.

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