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Compare and contrast how Seamus Heaney and Carol Ann Duffy have described the ending of childhood innocence in 'Death of a Naturalist' and 'In Mrs Tilcher's class'.

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Poetry Coursework Question: 'Poems can capture important moments in our lives.' Compare and contrast how Seamus Heaney and Carol Ann Duffy have described the ending of childhood innocence in 'Death of a Naturalist' and 'In Mrs Tilcher's class'. Introduction To answer this question I will look at the poetic features of each poem. Each poem I am going to talk about focuses on the loss of childhood innocence. The two poems I am going to talk about are different from each other as 'Death of a Naturalist' by Seamus Heaney is a dull scary type of poem. 'In Mrs Tilcher's class' by Carol Ann Duffy seems less of fear and more uplifting then changes to shame at the end of the poem, 'But stared at your parents, appalled' Both poems end negatively. Each poet comes from a different upbringing. Seamus Heaney is from Northern Ireland and lived in a farm where he collected frogspawn. This poem reminded you more of what you did outside school during your free time as I did that a lot when I was younger. I loved playing in the fields with friends and finding frogspawn was a great experience. ...read more.


In Heaney's poem it ends in fear, 'That if I dipped my hand the spawn would clutch it' Both poems use a lot of alliteration but in different ways. At the start of Heaney's poem he used alliteration in a negative way, 'heavy headed'. Whereas in Duffy's poem she uses it in a calmer way, 'With' and 'While'. This makes you automatically judge what the poem will be like. In Duffy's poem she uses alliteration to describe nicer things, 'sweet shop' When you hear this you feel happier and think of nicer things. In Heaney's poem he describes things that aren't really a nice image, 'jampotfuls' and 'jellied' These don't sound as nice or give you as nice of an image as 'sweet shop' does. In the third stanza of Duffy's poem it makes you feel sort of relieved, 'freed' and 'followed'. This reminds you more of being a child. The word 'freed' makes u feel a lot less trapped and feel more comfortable. In stanza 2 of Heaney's poem he uses, 'coarse croaking'. This seems more threatening as it gives you the image of being surrounded by frogs. Both these poems mention 'croaking' in them. ...read more.


I found one piece of personification shocking coming from a child but it shows she is getting older, 'Heavy sexy sky.' I wouldn't expect a younger person to use the term 'sexy' to describe something. Neither poems rhymed which I found disappointing. I think they would be more enjoyable to read if there was rhythm. In Duffy's poem where she used the word 'chanted' I think she could have made it better by making the countries rhyme. Heaney's poem has used Onomatopoeia in a funny but disturbing way, 'The slap and plop.' Duffy uses onomatopoeia in a completely different way which makes you feel calm and relaxed, 'Mrs Tilcher chanted the scenery.' There is not really any repetition of words in either of the poems which I think makes them less threatening. After reading both poems I can feel empathy for both poets'. In Heaney's poem it made me remember when I went out and collected frogspawn, but I never found it scary or threatening like his poem makes it sound. Therefore I would prefer Duffy's poem. In her poem everything said in it happened to me during my childhood in school. Reading Duffy's poem made me think back to me sitting in class in a brightly coloured classroom. Although I was disappointed that it didn't rhyme at all because it would have made me enjoy it even more. ...read more.

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