• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Using two of Heaney's poems, compare them for treatment of theme and style, noting signs of the poet's development.

Extracts from this document...


Rebecca Brackley Using two of Heaney's poems, compare them for treatment of theme and style, noting signs of the poet's development. Seamus Heaney has developed greatly as a writer from his first collection of poetry, Death of a Naturalist, to his collection further on, Wintering out. I am going to examine the poems, Death of a naturalist and The Tollund man, to explore how Heaney's poetry has developed in style and themes. Firstly, from looking at Death of a Naturalist, Heaney clearly establishes the themes that he develops in this collection of poems. He firstly talks about his own personal history, and then uses memories from his own childhood. Heaney paints vivid descriptions of his memories or rural Irish life, and uses language as he describes how the "Bubbles gargled delicately". This onomatopoeia is seen once again, as he recalls the "coarse croaking" of the "gross-bellied frogs". There is also the strong theme of Irish landscapes and traditions, which is an ongoing theme throughout Heaney's first collection of poetry. He describes how "All year the flax-dam festered in the heart/Of the townland", which shows a traditional rural activity that occurred when Heaney was growing up in agricultural Ireland. Heaney also expresses his loss of innocence through this poem, as he develops knowledge and maturity. ...read more.


The effect of this imagery is to firstly show Heaneys innocence at the beginning of the poem, and also to show how his view of the frogs changed throughout, as he gained an understanding. This also helps to show how the tone of the poem changes from the first section to the second and the use of "Then" at the beginning of the second section shows that a change has occurred. Since Heaneys first collection of poetry, Death of a Naturalist, he has developed as a poet, which is evident in his collection of poems, Wintering out. The Tollund man is an example of this development, and is one of the poems about 'the bog people' that Heaney chose to write about. Heaney was inspired after seeing a photograph of the Tollund man, whom was found, preserved in a bog in Aarhus, Denmark. There is a strong theme of religion running through this poem, as The Tollund man was sacrificed to a religion that is much older and darker than Christianity. Heaney talks about the "bridegroom to the goddess", and this shows that in this religion, the sacrificing of bodies was common. This could also be linked to Heaney's personal religion, as in Northern Ireland; people were killed against their will, due to the troubles between the Protestants and the Catholics. ...read more.


Heaney also uses very descriptive language when talking about the Tollund mans appearance at the beginning of the poem. "Peat brown head" is used to show the colour and also the texture of the man, and here Heaney uses images from his own background (peat) to help him describe his appearance. He extends this and continues to use images from the natural world, when he talks about the "pods of his eye lids", which shows the rounded shape of his eyes when closed. He uses sounds to show the pace at some points in the poem, such as when he describes standing "a long time", and the long vowel sounds echoes the meaning. It also shows how mesmerised Heaney is by this Bog person as he cannot help but stare. This sound is much subtler than the onomatopoeia seen in Death of a Naturalist, yet works just as effectively. In conclusion, it is clear that as a poet, Heaney has developed from his first collection of poetry, written in 1966,to the collection named Wintering out in 1972. I feel his style has become subtler and he has chosen to move away slightly from the conventions of poetry, such as rhythm and rhyme. His themes have also varied throughout the collection, yet it is clear one ongoing theme will be the history of Northern Ireland, and his own religion. Death of a naturalist was the starting point of his collection of poetry, and effectively developed the themes that remain prominent in his later collections. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Seamus Heaney section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Seamus Heaney essays

  1. Peer reviewed

    Compare and contrast 'Death of a naturalist' and 'Catrin'

    3 star(s)

    Both poems have nostalgia, as they are both looking back and reminiscing past. Heaney is looking back on his childhood ' then one hot day when fields were rank' 'Miss Walls would tell

  2. Peer reviewed

    Analyse how Seamus Heaney uses language to convey his childhood experiences to the reader ...

    3 star(s)

    This is shown when the poet writes: " A rat grey fungus, glutting on our cache The juice was stinking too." It shows that he feels that someone is almost stealing from him. But unlike in the poem "Death of a Naturalist" he person seems to keep some of his childlike innocence.

  1. Explore Heaney's Presentation Of The Irish Conflict In, "Whatever You Say, Say Nothing"

    The animalistic imagery, "coiled leads", is also used personify the media as sly snakes, who again, just litter and worm around to get their story. The journalists times are said to be, "out of joint", relating to the idea that their news stories on the Irish conflict are lies, they

  2. Analysis Of Bog Queen

    However when the roots are pushed into her body, they, "ponder and die", connecting to the idea that she is like the language of the blind. The roots are unable to read her, they earth and its inhabitants are unable to understand her important meaning.

  1. 'From our study in the "Clearances" collection, what is revealed about Seamus Heaney and ...

    also informed of Heaney's thoughts and feelings towards other members of his family. In the invocation, we are made aware of Heaney's ancestors, including his uncle and other, present day family members who are working on the farm. Heaney shares his fear of being different to his family 'to face the music'.

  2. Seamus Heaney.

    "Bogland," the final poem in his second volume, presents once again his fascination with things buried. He acknowledges an attachment to the soil that is the source and subject of his poetry. The catalog of objects, buried in bogs for years, sometimes centuries, and dug up in remarkable condition, encompasses

  1. Casualty, Limbo, Graubelle Man, Tollund Man, Mid-Term Break and Funeral Rites offer us varying ...

    He does not want to refer to the body as a corpse and he asks the rhetorical question "Who will say 'corpse' to his vivid cast?" Similarly to the Tollund man given the body a more holy image than simply a rotting corpse.

  2. Compare and contrast the treatment of emigration and rural life in “The Country Boy” ...

    "It's very little you've ever done except contradicting him and ridiculing any ideas he ever had." The women are more in touch with the boys' needs and try to get the fathers to see them as well. "The youth of today are entitled to some freedom."

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work