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There are several different literary-critical approaches you could take to writing an essay about Seamus Heaney's poem "Casualty." Given the history of the "troubles" in Northern Ireland, the obvious choice would be post-colonial literature, analyzing the issue of how the post-colonial situation of Northern Ireland creates psychological distress, possibly alcoholism, and erupts from helplessness into violence. It is the man's alcoholism that leads him to violate curfew and be killed:
For he drank like a fish...
Swimming towards the lure
Of warm lit-up places...
. Another possible approach would be a more orthodox Marxist, perhaps Althusserian, one showing how oppression leads to class conflict. On a Marxist reading, you would show how oppression leads to lack of economic and cultural opportunity.
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