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

Seamus Heaney - Death of A Naturalist

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

English Literature: 20th Century Poetry By Nicky Craven Seamus Heaney: Death of A Naturalist Through this anthology of poems by the great Irish poet, Seamus Heaney, we can see how a young Heaney matures through childhood and how he crosses metaphorical bridges to conquer fears and how he grows from a small boy on a farm to becoming one of Ireland's greatest poets. Through each of the poems we see one underlying factor through his childhood: Fear. Heaney shows fear through each of these poems and eventually he conquers his fears while becoming a man. The Barn This poem is about an early stage in Heaney's childhood and shows genuine childhood fears. Heaney uses very effective textural images to create his poems. In line one he uses the simile "piled like grit of ivory". The texture image image of grit is sharp and painful. The "ivory" represents death; it is icy and cold. He also uses the simile "solid as cement" to show how hard the atmosphere is. The word "lugged" is a colloquialism used by Heaney. It is a typical Irish word for ears. He refers to "the two lugged sacks" to represent a rat's ears. He shows his fear of rats as he imagines the sacks are a rat. This shows Heaney's fantastic imagination. He uses more imagery as "the musty dark hoarded an armoury". Heaney shows his fear as he imagines the darkness hiding weapons. The reference to a harness and plough socks represents the farming community in the 1950s in Ireland. ...read more.

Middle

The young boy "sickened, turned and ran." He isn't mature enough to accept the reality. The Early Purges Again Heaney shows fear, this time his fear is of death. Even from the title this is shown. The "purge" is used when something is killed for a reason, for example when something has to be put down. But what makes this different is that Heaney shows an acceptance of the reasons for killing the kittens. At the time of the kittens being drowned Heaney could have only been about six years of age. It was the first time he had seen this being done. "The scraggy wee shits" is an ingenious term to use because it is a realistic thing that a man like Dan would say. This also shows the Northern Irish background of Heaney's upbringing. Heaney accepts that Dan was just doing what he had to. Again Heaney uses imagery by describing the "frail, metal sound". When he hears the "scraping" sound it is as if the kittens are metaphorically scrapping on his conscience and he feels guilt for their deaths. He also hears the "tiny din" showing how weak the kittens are against the world. Heaney uses Irish words like "soused" and "sogged remains" as texture images to show how the kittens are drowned. He shows how they are treated like vermin by being "slung" as if they are worthless. When Dan says "sure isn't it better for them now" he is rationalising the situation to justify himself to the boy. ...read more.

Conclusion

The silence highlights the early morning mission. The cows are still asleep, "cuddling, watching and knowing". "Rails scored a bulls eye", shows a shooting target. The hoarse sentry shows another military image. Heaney imagines he is a soldier as he dresses in rubber boots and is belted. Similes such as "tense as two parachutists also show the military influence and he shows his imagination of being in the army as he "dropped down". In the second stanza they are down on their bellies with "ravenous eyes". He really wants to shoot something. Heaney shows how the foxes were "loping under ferns....flashing brown orbits". The sky is starting to brighten. "Cock sounding reveille" again shows the military imagery. The lines become shorter and emphasise the action. Then comes the shooting. The drama is added to by dialogue. They are doing it for fun and this is emphasised as they call the fox a "playboy". Donnelly sings as he shoots, "Wild Rover no more", which also shows their insensitivity towards the creature. He "Empties two barrels" to make sure the fox is dead. The two boys simply don't care. They aren't interested in catching anymore as the shot scares away any other animals. They "dander off" and at their age they are very insensitive towards the fox. It wasn't worth cutting out the tongue. There is no sentiment shown. It is a clear fact that the money is no issue. The whole point of killing the animal was simply for pleasure. This ending is significant and it shows that Heaney has again matured to another level. ...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. Marked by a teacher

    Commentary on "Casualty" by Seamus Heaney.

    3 star(s)

    In it, the poet establishes the great deal of admiration and affection he felt for his now-dead companion. This section of the poem also conveys much of the political message that the poet wanted to communicate though the poem, the tension, the restriction and the pain that is caused by Protestant power over the Irish Catholics.

  2. Marked by a teacher

    A Comparison Of Trout and Cow in Calf by Seamus Heaney

    3 star(s)

    of a target used in shooting, this gives us the image that the trout is literally being shot at the "grass-seed and moths". This makes the trout seem very destructive, which is reinforced in the last line of the stanza, the grass-seed and moths picked of by the trout are

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

    Also the poem shows how growing up from childhood to adult. The poem also says that life when you start it is very much fun, but as you get older life isn't as nice, like in the poem in

  2. How effectively does Heaney describe the transition from innocence to experience in 'The Early ...

    William Blake (1757-1827) was one of the first poets that wrote poems based on the theme of innocence and experience. Despite the fact that both poets were born in different centuries, they both have similarities in their poems and writing styles, and also some differences.

  1. Poetry appreciation of 'Death of a naturalist' by Seamus Heaney

    suggests the dramatic change in the mood .We know that this is another summer and the images portrayed are not so pleasing. Another important point is that at this stage Heaney's interest in frogs has rapidly changed. This is because they are no longer 'jellied/specks' but 'angry frogs' seeking 'vengeance'.

  2. Compare and contrast 'Death of a Naturalist' and 'Digging' by Seamus Heaney.

    The words seem to almost roll of the tongue. In both these poems the writer uses metaphors and similes. For example, 'Blunt heads farting.' There may be more to this metaphor than meets the eye. The definitions of blunt from the dictionary are as follows 'Having an edge or point

  1. Compare Death of a Naturalist, Advancement of Learning and Roe Deer.

    is just about to understand, like a fortuneteller who loses contact with the spirits, he loses it. Death of a naturalist In stanza one the poet is enchanted and obsessed by the frogs, e.g. "warm thick slobber of frogspawn was best of all."

  2. Discuss the view of the world which Heaney presents as surrounding himself as a ...

    He does it again, later in the poem, when describing to us his grandfather, and how he "fell to right away nicking and slicing neatly", having paused only briefly for a drink. By describing his grandfather's work in this way, he suggests there is a sense of professionalism and creativeness through something which is normally seen as mundane and ordinary.

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