01rulestown
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In the poem ‘out of the bag’ by Seatnus Heaney, they talk about ‘Spaniel’s inside lug’ and I don’t know what it means at all. Can you tell me what it means??
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01rulestown
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Is it about the ear of the dog or something like that?
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jamesg2
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I agree it is a confusing image. That said you need to consider the full quote:-

4. Those nosy, rosy, big, soft hands of his
5. In the scullery basin, its lined insides
6. (The colour of a spaniel’s inside lug)

The reference regards Doctor Kerlin. He has just delivered a baby and he is cleaning his hands in the basin. The insides of a Spaniel's ears are a neutral colour. I believe Heaney is referring to the inside of the basin. It is a confusing line because - at first _ I felt the reference was to Doctor Kerlin's hands.I thought that it suggested that the delivery had been successful and that there were no particles remaining on his hands - suggesting a difficult and maybe an unsuccesful birth. However I believe it is the basin and not his hands that are being referred to.
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Lit teacher
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its lined insides (The colour of a spaniel’s inside lug)
Were empty for all to see, the trap-sprung mouth
Unsnibbed and gaping wide.

Isn't this a reference to the bag "All of us came in Doctor Kerlin’s bag." The young Heaney sees the doctor arrive with a bag and go in to see his mother. When the doctor emerges and washes his hands the bag is open and empty and the baby is crying. Traditionally doctors carried their instruments in a Gladstone bag for house visits. Image
The poem is about childbirth, and as a young boy Heaney believed that the doctor brought the new baby in his bag. Maybe his parents told him this to avoid embarrassing questions. The bag wide open and empty afterwards is all the proof he needed.

I managed to find a picture of Spaniel's lugs too. You can be the judge of the similarity in colour.
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jamesg2
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Because of Heaney's extraordinary use of lineation enjambment, I have found this a difficult poem.

I see the logic of your interpretation. The possessive pronoun was what led me astray. I had thought it referred to the soft hands that were in the basin. However on reflection I do not think you would use that term to describe an animate object. So I agree, the reference is to his doctor's bag..

3. And by the time he’d reappear to wash
4. Those nosy, rosy, big, soft hands of his
5. In the scullery basin, its lined insides
6. (The colour of a spaniel’s inside lug)
7. Were empty for all to see, the trap-sprung mouth
8. Unsnibbed and gaping wide.

Regarding your point that the poem is "about childbirth" I respectively disagree. Childbirth is certainly one of the themes but the poem is about much more. It is also about poetry and poets. It is about the importance of religious instutions, it is about Heaney's personal history and life and I am wondering whether the poem does not ends on the importance of family and the birth of one of his children.

I can see why Heaney states that while in Lourdes he was a "thurifer". That is in keeping with the idea of fainting from the heat and fumes which is part of the approaching theme.. However he was not a "thurifer", he was a "barancardier" - a helper for the visitors. What still puzzles me is why he states he went to Lourdes in 1956 when he would have known he went in 1958.It is a point he discusses in the interviews he gave for "Stepping Stones." Why is it important that the year is 1956 when he knows very well he went two years later. What is gained by changing the date? We may never the answer but I find it curious when there is so much factual and corroberative detail about Mossbawn, fellow poets, historical sites, presents for ill friends and religious institutions yet Seamus Heaney includes a date he would have known was inaccurate.
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ParkHyungSuk
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(Original post by 01rulestown)
In the poem ‘out of the bag’ by Seatnus Heaney, they talk about ‘Spaniel’s inside lug’ and I don’t know what it means at all. Can you tell me what it means??
Its simple stuff really - it refers to the metaphysical entity of the biological compound protruding from the radioactive radii of the isotope as it completes the de-ionisation stage of metamorphosis.
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01rulestown
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Thanks for the replies.

But I wonder why he use the dog’s ear as reference. Someone online said that it was because the speaker at the time is a child and don’t know much about the color names, thus using reference to make up for the lack of knowledge of color names? (Or something like that?)


And yeah this poem is difficult. The fact that it’s around three pages long just puts me off. :/
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jamesg2
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Yes I agree this poem is challenging. However if you are studying Edexel AS then it should be. Lit teacher was right to point out that I had incorectly interpreted a line in the poem. I suggested that the use of the possessive pronoun was the cause of my mistake. I went back to the poem yoday to see how I had allowed myself to make that error. The use of the possessive pronoun has nothing to do with it and I was wrong yesterday to suggest it was a cause. What I had not noticed - until today - is that Heaney's uses parenthesis in these lines - as well as elsewhere in the poem. It is a classic error of analysis and I should have noticed it much earlier and the excuse yesterday that the use of lineation enjambment added to the problem of analysis was also incorrect. If anything it adds to the appreciation of the poem. The technique often used by Heaney in this poem - that I had not noriced previously and which actually adds to the poem - was parenthesis.

1. All of us came in Doctor Kerlin’s bag.
2. He’d arrive with it, disappear to the room
3. And by the time he’d reappear to wash
4. Those nosy, rosy, big, soft hands of his
5. In the scullery basin, its lined insides
6. (The colour of a spaniel’s inside lug)

I have placed the parenthesis in italics. {Don't confuse the commas for the compound adjectives on L 4 with the parenthesis} Once you isolate the parenthesis it is perfectly clear that colour of the spaniel's ear refers to the inside of the bag.

Within this poem Heaney uses a lot of parenthsis and once that is highlighted I believe you will find the poem much easier to follow.
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01rulestown
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Another question

What things are dismissed in Ode On Grayson Perry Urn? At first I thought it was just dismissive towards the millennial (aka my generation?)
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the bear
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here is what a spaniel's ear looks like:

https://virtuavet.files.wordpress.co...re-dog-ear.jpg

not sure what SH was on about really :dontknow:
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