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Explain his aim in each poem and how he achieves it?

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Explain his aim in each poem and how he achieves it? Seamus Heaney's poem 'Digging' and 'Death of a Naturalist' represents the poets past. 'Digging' covers themes of family traditions and how he feels about breaking this tradition of digging, whereas 'Death of a Naturalist' looks at his childhood past, exploring innocence and pleasure of childhood activities and comparing it to the seriousness of growing up. His aim is to explore his past, thinking about his family, environment and childhood. He achieves this through analysing events through memories, personal feelings, imagery, use of senses and many literacy devices such as onomatopoeia, alliteration and rhyme patterns. In 'Digging' Heaney is thinking about his family traditions of the past. He has broken this tradition by becoming a writer and perhaps feels a little guilty about that. 'But I've no spade to follow men like them.' ...read more.


Just like his old man'. He enjoyed helping them too, 'Loving their cool hardness in our hands'. Heaney's mind goes further back when he thinks of his grandfather digging peat, which kept the family warm. He contrasts the way his grandfather carried his milk 'sloppily' to how he 'cut more turf in a day. Than any other man ......' In 'Death of a Naturalist' the environment is where Heaney collected his frogspawn. He describes this setting in such a descriptive way that the reader can almost smell and feel the heat of the day. He uses adjectives such as 'festered' and 'sweltered' for this affect. Heaney uses these sound effects in his poems to stimulate the reader's imagination. In 'Digging' we hear the 'clean rasping sound' of the spade. 'Nicking and Slicing' the peat gives us a sense of the activity. Not only do we hear the sounds, we are also aware of the smells, 'the cold smell of potato mould, the squelch and slap of soggy peats. ...read more.


Sounds echo his fear with alliteration 'coarse croaking'. He also uses onomatopoeia for example 'slap and plop' of their bodies jumping. In 'Death of a Naturalist' Heaney's child-like innocence seems to have disappeared as he 'sickens' and believes that they are taking vengeance on him. The poem seems to turn into a horror scene, where he believes his hand would be grabbed by them if he were to take the spawn. In conclusion, I feel that both of these poems reflect on Heaney's memories of the past. 'Digging' suggests that he regards his family traditions as something to be proud of, but feels that he was unable to continue due to a changing world and education. On the other hand in 'Death of a Naturalist' he looks at growing up; the passing of innocence to a world of reality, where life is not so straightforward. His ideal world of nature, instead of being exciting and fascinating, is now threatening. He is growing up and experiencing the darker sides to life. Niroshun Nadesalingam ...read more.

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