"Requiem for the Croppies" is a tribute to the Irish rebels who fought against British domination of Ireland in 1798. "Croppies" were given their name because they wore their hair closely cropped to their head and without powder in imitation of the French revolutionaries.
This poem conveys social awareness in part by drawing the reader in with the pronouns "we" and "our." The poem is told in the first person plural rather than by an omniscient narrator, making the reader part of the croppies' struggle against the British. The croppies are fighting "in our own country," signifying that Ireland belongs to them, not to the British invaders. Heaney's line "The priest lay behind ditches with the tramp" is about how all the Irish, from priests to tramps, were part of the struggle, which was a collective action.
The poem shows the croppies' desperate techniques, including making cattle into infantry, and rouses the reader's sympathy for them. In the end, the croppies' deaths at Vinegar Hill, in...
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