Seamus Heaney

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How does Heaney subvert romantic expectations in "Wedding Day"?

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In Seamus Heaney's poem 'Wedding Day' it may be the readers' romantic expectations of the marriage theme that are subverted but not those of the bridegroom, bride or family. The poet may be trying to express the ordeal of the social host side of the celebration rather than his feelings about his bride - if indeed the narrator is the bridegroom as readers will be very confused by the tone and wonder if it is he who is the groom. He fills the poem with cold realism and images of mundane utilitarian sights such as airports, taxis, public toilets and even graffiti. The image of a stressed head resting on the female breast suggests maternal rather than romantic love, and perhaps he is seeing his bride in a new light - that of social hostess and doesnt like it because he feels detached from her, longing for the moment when she can be his comforting companion again in private in the taxi. Overall, grief and loss seem to be stronger themes than romantic love - it seems as if he is contented to be married but wondering what all the fuss is about on the social side - he feels that sentimentality is not what his love is about.

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