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'Death of a Naturalist'

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Mid Term Break Seamus Heaney was born in 1939 in County Derry, Northern Ireland. He grew up on a farm, one of nine children. Heaney has published several volumes of poetry including the award winning 'Death of a Naturalist.' * Firstly the title of the poem conjures up an idea or a thought of a holiday. * This poem is an incredibly tragic poem. The second line immediately sets a very somber mood, the line 'Counting bells knelling classes to a close.' These bells do not signify the ending of a class period but the ending of life. Heaney goes on in the third line of the first stanza to show the passage of time. ...read more.


* Heaney finds the atmosphere in the room extremely strange and not normal. He is shocked and embarrassed as the adults greet and condole with him, having been informed as to the fact he is the elder brother who lives away at boarding school. His life has come to a standstill and his childhood has altered and death has come to his doorstep. At the same time his baby brother gurgles with laughter and pleasure on seeing him. * Heaney breaks another stereotype when he shows his mother as the stronger half in the family. He shows a reversal of roles, the father broken and crying and the mother strong and angry. ...read more.


He sees his brother after a span of six weeks who had been as cheerful in the good days but now he lay there pale. But other wise little had changed in his appearance. Heaney likens the bruise to a poppy, which is a flower linked with death and soothing of pain. (Soothing of pain because from poppy we get opium which is a drug, kills pain). Heaney shows the bruise as being worn, metaphorically as if the bruise could be rubbed off. * His younger brother appears as if a sleep 'simile'. We are contrast the ugly corpse stanched and bandaged which becomes a sleeping child with no scars, dead but not disfigured. * The last line of the poem brings out most sadly and skillfully- the size of the coffin is the measure of the child's life. ...read more.

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