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With close reference to at least three poems by Seamus Heaney, explore the ways in which he makes his feelings and opinions about life in rural Irelandvivid for the reader.

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Introduction

With close reference to at least three poems by Seamus Heaney, explore the ways in which he makes his feelings and opinions about life in rural Ireland vivid for the reader. Seamus Heaney was born in Northern Ireland in 1939, where he lived in the countryside on a farm. Even though he was technically British, Heaney was a Catholic and believed that Northern Ireland should be part of the Republic of Ireland not Great Britain. The conflict of the situation in Northern Ireland had a great effect on him as a child and as an adult, and this is evident in his poems. Many of his poems involve his life as a child and what it was like to grow up in rural Ireland. This can be seen in "The Death of a Naturalist", "The Early Purges" and "Digging". Seamus Heaney is very effective at making the images he creates vivid for the reader. In "The Death of a Naturalist" Seamus Heaney writes about a flax-dam that he used to visit as a child. The dam was smelly and rotting but Heaney still liked it, he would take frogspawn from the dam. One day Heaney found that the tadpoles had developed into frogs at the dam and he ran because he was scared that they were going to take revenge on him. ...read more.

Middle

At first he was upset and frightened, but later in the poem he changes his mind and thinks that if a farm is going to be run properly things like that have to be done. The way he changes his mind and becomes uncaring suggests that life in rural Ireland is hard drowning kittens has to be done to keep the farm going. There is a big contrast between his feelings as a boy and his later feelings as a man. Like in "The Death of a Naturalist" Seamus Heaney uses the technique of storytelling to make "The Early Purges" vivid for the reader, it makes them imagine themselves in that position, feeling what Heaney did for the kittens. Seamus Heaney uses vulgar language in "The Early Purges", "the scraggy wee shits" (line 2), "bloody pups", (line 21). This is effective in making the poem vivid because it shocks the reader and makes the poem more interesting for them. This kind of language shows that there is no pity or sorrow when killing the animals, they are not cared about or respected, they are just "pests". The poem is about a young child and so it has a na�ve feel about it, and this language is a great contrast to this. ...read more.

Conclusion

This is used at the beginning and the end of the poem. Seamus Heaney repeats the word "digging" throughout this poem; it reminds the reader of what Heaney is writing about and keeps a constant picture of farming and digging in the reader's mind. Heaney uses sensory imagery to make the image of the digging vivid, "The cold smell of potato mould, the squelch and slap Of soggy peat" (lines 25-26). This description appeals to the reader's senses of smell and sound and makes the reader recreate the scene for themselves. Seamus Heaney not only writes about the digging, but also the effect of it, "scatter new potatoes" (line 14). His grandfather was "heaving sods over his shoulder" (line 22-23). This creates a vivid image because the reader can see the turf thrown everywhere. Seamus Heaney uses a great variety of different techniques that are successful in making "The Death of a Naturalist", "Digging", and "The Early Purges" vivid for the reader. They show his childhood was like in rural Ireland and what his thoughts and feelings are. All three of these poems show that life on an Irish farm can be cruel, harsh, dirty and smelly, but despite this Heaney still likes and enjoys it. His poems are honest and tell what life is really like, they show the reader what rural Ireland really is. ...read more.

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