Freedman

Heaney unites title, epigraph and narrative to signal a transformation that liberated him from previous control: the gift of poetry awakened his dissatisfaction with his Catholic markings of tribe, caste and conditioning( and even, arguably, made him a more ‘useful member of society’). Initial focus illustrates the Catholic sway to which his nature, upbringing and training readily submitted him. He was prepared to live under what he now regards as a form of enslavement: attending Lent services in church(subjugated yearly under arches); ‘signed up’ to a kind of contract: Manumitted by parchments and degrees; indelibly marked by liturgical colouring: My murex was the purple dye of lents; conscious of the symbolism and significance of the festival: on calendars all fast […]