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A comparison essay between the poems 'Death of a Naturalist' and 'Digging' both by poet Seamus Heaney

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A comparison essay between the poems 'Death of a Naturalist' and 'Digging' both by poet Seamus Heaney For GCSE course work we have to compare two poems from a foreign culture. The two poems we picked were both by the popular Irish poem 'Seamus Heaney.' The two poems we're looking at 'Death of a Naturalist' and 'Digging' could be seen as autobiographical. 'Death of a Naturalist' is basically about a young boy who had a keenness for nature, which has disintegrated throughout a summer. 'Digging' is about the poet remembering his childhood, he writes about about digging as though it is patriotic of his family. He talks about fore fathers and how he will continue this tradition, not by digging on a farm but with his pen, writing. Although with seemingly different storylines, the poems actually start off quite similarly; with both poems taking you back you a specific time in the poets' childhood. In 'Digging' the poet is remembering other people in his life, like his grandfather and father but with 'Death of a Naturalist' his memories are all introspective. ...read more.


In both poems the poet uses figurative language to great effect, and you get the feeling that each image has a double meaning, from 'Digging' I chose this example 'The squat pen rests: snug as a gun' The word squat could mean short or low or disproportionately wide, but it could also mean to 'unlawfully occupy a space.' Although in this extract I think the first mention analysis is probably the most likely. The poet describes the pen as squat, like it doesn't fit right in his hand. The use of the word 'rests' could mean to cease work, or to rest on, as in to depend on but in this case I am more inclined to believe it is just to be placed on and stay in a specified position. The word rest is linked to the word sleep which makes you think of comfort. So now the writer is going back on his almost insult to the pen to say it now rests 'snug as a gun.' This phrase describes the way the pen rests as warm and cosy, like a gun ready to be used as his weapon. ...read more.


This is different to 'Death of a Naturalist' as it separates into two stanza's, the tone of the poem changes from an intrigued, enthusiastic child 'Best of all....' to that of a scared and intimidated person in the other 'Gathered there for vengeance' There are examples of onomatopoeia in both poems although it isn't used at length in either. I noticed 'slap' is used in both poems, both in descriptions of mud or dirt sentences, showing the link in the poets' language. Overall I enjoyed both poems though I did prefer 'Digging' as I like the way the poet flicked back and forth through time. I could also visualise this poem more, like a film, which I liked. I also like the cast use of alliteration which made the poem kind of roll off your tongue. There is also a really good use of onomatopoeia in the poem in the second stanza. 'Under my window a clean rasping sound' This sentence really draws you into the poem and you can almost hear the rasping as the shovel sinks into the ground. To sum up, all of these factors and more are the reason as to why I prefer 'Digging' ?? ?? ?? ?? Rachel Manning 11D ...read more.

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