• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

How effectively does Heaney describe the transition from innocence to experience in 'The Early Purges' and 'Death of a Naturalist'?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

GCSE Coursework English: English Literary Heritage: Poetry English Literature: Poetry (post-1914) Seamus Heaney (1939-) How effectively does Heaney describe the transition from innocence to experience in 'The Early Purges' and 'Death of a Naturalist'? 'The Early Purges' presents the contrast between the practical realities of farm life where the death of animals is treated as a way of life and, on the other hand, the initial squeamishness of the poet as a child and the sentimental attitude of the town dwellers towards animals. 'Death of a Naturalist' is concerned with growing up and loss of innocence. Seamus Heaney vividly describes a childhood experience that precipitates a change in the boy from the receptive and protected innocence of childhood to the fear and uncertainty of adolescence. 'Death of a Naturalist' is set out in two sections of blank verse (unrhymed iambic pentameter lines). Heaney uses onomatopoeia more lavishly here than in any poem - and many of the sounds are very indelicate: 'gargled', 'slap and plop' and 'farting'. In 'The Early Purges', the poem is clearly divided into seven stanzas with the first and third lines of each stanza rhyming. 'Death of a Naturalist' has a fairly simple structure. In the first section, Heaney describes how the frogs would spawn in the 'lint hole', with a digression into his collecting the spawn, and how his teacher encouraged his childish interest in the process. ...read more.

Middle

The success of the poem derives from the effective way Heaney builds up a totally convincing account of a childhood experience that deals with the excitement, pain and confusion of growing up. The poem has a generally upbeat mood, and is written with a child like feel to it, which is shown by Heaneys use of the words, 'mammy' and 'daddy' frog. Alternatively, 'The Early Purges' has an upsetting and fearsome mood and tone to the poem. 'The Early Purges' is an ambivalent poem. Seamus Heaney's poem could be seen in two different ways. The reader can see the poem as the record of a child's emotional development through time, his coming to terms with practical realities in moving from sentimentality to realism (innocence to experience.) On the other hand, 'The Early Purges' could be viewed as a portrayal of a desensitising process that people experience, the escalation of an uncaring and indifferent attitude to our fellow creatures. Unlike 'The Early Purges', 'Death of a Naturalist' only has one meaning to the poem. It is concerned with growing up and loss of innocence. The poet vividly describes a childhood experience that precipitates a change in the boy from the receptive and protected innocence of childhood to the fear and uncertainty of adolescence. The idea of taking innocence and experience as a topic does not originate from Seamus Heaney (1939-). ...read more.

Conclusion

In 'The Early Purges', the experience section of the poem shows how the child has emotionally developed from a sensitive child, to a practically thinking adolescent. In the final stanza Heaney criticises the idealistic attitude of town dwellers towards animals, who regard deaths on farms as 'unnatural'. Towards the end of the poem, Heaney regards his squeamish feelings as a child as 'false sentiments' and thinks of his childhood reactions as a mistake. In the final line of the poem, there is a hint of sarcasm and irony in a clich� that Heaney uses, as he speaks of kittens as 'pests' that 'have to be kept down'. This, in my view, is a criticism towards farm dwellers who believe in the culling of animals. The reader can see both of these poems as a criticism of society. Heaney vividly illustrates images in the reader's mind for both the innocence and experience sections of the poem. In both poems, the innocence sections are from childhood. The experience sections in both poems show how the child's perceptions of the world have changed, and how the world is a place of uncertainty. In both poems, Heaney effectively shows the change from innocence to experience. This change is marked by differences in tone, diction, imagery, movement, sound and even structure. Heaney uses all of these to successfully show the transition of innocence to experience in 'The Early Purges' and 'Death of a Naturalist'. Sahil Singh 08/05/2007 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Seamus Heaney section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Seamus Heaney essays

  1. the early purges

    This shows that the writer had a very detailed memory of the scene and still remembered it all the way from his childhood. Also, from the way the verse ends with a full stop, it shows that the verse ended with finality and it was quite dramatic.

  2. A comparative study of "The Death of a naturalist" by Seamus Heaney and "The ...

    Again, you can tell that the first stanza is more child like because of how Heaney describes his teacher Miss Walls, "Miss Walls would tell us how the daddy frog was called the bullfrog and how he croaked"... Heaney was trying to show that his teacher would teach him about frogs.

  1. culture and the heritage in heaney

    Poem B differs from Poem A. Poem B, "Strange Fruit", has a more distinct shape with only 14 lines. It is a sonnet. Poem A contains stanzas and doesn't have as much of a distinct shape's seeing as there are 3 different sections of the poem with a different amount of stanzas in each one.

  2. The Early Purges

    There are some striking details throughout the poem. The title 'The Early Purges' is a country expression for emptying one's bowels, in the poem this idea is developed in the reference to dung. At the end of the first stanza there is a suggestion of the sound of drowning in 'frail metal'.

  1. Seamus Heaney - Death of A Naturalist

    The second stanza shows the change to realising the reality. Heaney is disgusted. The smell is disgusting, like cow dung, which shows how Heaney feels. Heaney shows the atmosphere by writing about the "angry frogs", the "coarse" sounds and the "thick air, gross bellied frogs" and the "groans".

  2. Looking at the poems in Death of a Naturalist discuss how Heaney use’s language ...

    This symbolises the mechanical decision to go out and pick blackberries every year. But there is no structure to the lines. They look haphazard on the page. There are some iambic rhythms randomly splattered around the text, such as: "But when the bath was full we found a fur..."

  1. Comparison between William Blake and Seamus Heaney.

    It was regarded as a brilliant piece of work. His second collection, Door in the Dark, was published in 1969, followed by Wintering Out, published in 1972. In 1982, Heaney became Professor of Poetry at Oxford University, and remained there until 1994. Station Island(1984), The Haw Lantern(1987) and The Spirit Level(1996)

  2. Write an essay on Heaney's poetry in the light of his statement that it ...

    born out of an acute sense of division: "Poetry...is out of the quarrel with ourselves"13 In Death of a Naturalist Heaney delineates the dichotomies that are an enduring feature of his life. In later work, he seeks to achieve a balance between the artistic and the rural, the past and

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work