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Compate and Contrast theway Seamus Heaney and DH Lawrence depict their childhood memories in their poetry

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Compare and contrast the way Seamus Heaney and D.H. Lawrence depict childhood memories in their poetry Seamus Heaney's childhood is reflected in his poetry. He was born in 1939 (the beginning of the first World War) as the eldest of nine children, in the County Derry, in Ireland, where he grew up in the countryside, on the 50 acre farm his dad owned. These early memories of farm life gave Heaney much to write about in his poetry, so Heaney returns to his childhood memories for many of his poems. In his poetry, Heaney explores many themes. The two poems, by Heaney, I am going to discuss, explore the theme's death, and getting to terms with life's afflictions. D.H. Lawrence had a very different childhood, also reflected in his work. He was born in 1885, in a town called Eastwood in Nottinghamshire. He was the fourth son of a coal miner, who was working class. His mother, however, was of a superior class to his father, as she was a school teacher. This difference in class had a big influence on his writing. His writing is often negative, as his parents argued a lot when he was young, which is not something all children experience. As a result, Lawrence grew close to and protective of his mother. The first poem I am going to discuss is 'Blackberry Picking' by Seamus Heaney. The poem describes the young Heaney picking blackberry's in the summer. ...read more.


This innocence and child like language is used throughout the poem, especially when it seems the child is quoting his teacher when he says, 'Miss Walls would tell us how The daddy frog was called a bullfrog, And how he croaked. And how the mammy frog Laid hundreds of little eggs and this was frogspawn.' This portrays a child's excitement. The change of tone is marked by the word 'Then', as this tells us there is a negative change. A child's innocence is portrayed, when the little tadpoles turn into 'angry frogs'. The sounds are a contrast of those in the first section, in that they have become loud and angry. It is a first time experience, 'I ducked through hedges To a coarse croaking that I had not heard Before', which is amusing to the reader as it violates a child's innocence. The frogs were placed randomly, 'gross-bellied frogs were cocked On sods', and the word 'cocked' makes them seem arrogant and fierce towards a young child. Child-like onomatopoeia is used to describe the frogs, 'The slap and plop were obscene threats'. Heaney's use of imagery makes the frogs sound like soldiers in a war, 'Some sat Poised like mud grenades'. The last line, 'and I knew That if I dipped my hand the spawn would clutch it.', shows us the child is no longer excited about nature, as he is no longer calling it frogspawn. He is forced to believe tadpoles do not stay nimble. ...read more.


This poem, like 'Discord in Childhood', also describes an evening at home, however it is very different, 'the heart of me weeps to belong To the old Sunday evenings at home, with winter outside And the hymns in the cosy parlour, the tinkling piano our guide.' The word 'our' makes it sound as though there was no one but him and his mother. 'The great black piano appassionato', makes the piano sound dominant, which emphasises how small the child is. The last line of the poem is when Lawrence breaks down into tears, 'my manhood is cast Down in the flood of remembrance, I weep like a child for the past.' He feels like a child, weak. In conclusion, Heaney's childhood was more like any other child's, and his poetry reflects this. He had to come to terms with life, just as any child would, as in 'Blackberry Picking' where Heaney had to accept that blackberries do not last for a long time and in 'Death of a Naturalist' where he had to come to terms with tadpoles not staying nimble for ever. He grew up on a farm so a lot of his writing is about nature, like 'Blackberry Picking' and 'Death of a Naturalist'. D.H. Lawrence, on the other hand, had a very contrasting childhood compared to Heaney. The fact that his parents argued a lot when he was in his youth meant that he grew protective of his mother, so 'Piano' was written about her. 'Discord in Childhood' is different, in that it showed a different perspective of his life. It describes the abuse in a destructive manner, and the language used makes the poem effective. ...read more.

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