Death of a Naturalist - Seamus Heaney

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  • Death of a Naturalist
    • Context
      • Heany was brought up in rural ireland and was surrounded by nature from a young age
      • uses his own memories from childhood (autobiographical)
      • he was sent to boarding school which may be why the second stanza has a more dark and cynical tone
      • nature was always important to him as he was growing up (always surrounded by it)
    • Passing of Time
    • Sense of Place
      • structure and form
        • iambic pentameter - shows the rhythmic and repeating way time ticks on no matter what happens around it
      • "The great slime kings"
        • gives the image of the place no longer being his to enjoy and is instead ruled by the frogs inhabiting it
      • "it sweltered in the punishing sun"
        • this line really sets the scene of the place where the events are occurring and shows how warm and comforting it could have seemed, it makes the scene sound bright and all-encompassing
      • "on window-sills at home" "shelves at school"
        • shows how he found such enjoyment in the frogspawn that he bought it back to his house, insinuating that nature is ike a home for him, a place of comfort, which later changes in the poem, he was always surrounded by it
    • Nature
      • "warm thick slobber" compared to "angry frogs"
        • shows how nature turned something he once found enjoyable and entertaining into something menacing and evil, shows natures complete control ovet things
      • title
        • the title of the poem shows how his perceptions changes, showing how nature is diverse and can be seen in many different ways
        • "death"
      • "dragon-flies, spotted butterflies"
        • he notices the beauty nature holds and shows excitement towards it
      • structure and form
        • the use of rhythmic iambic pentameter could signify the rhythmic and cyclictic rhythm of nature, every the same and always repeating
        • "Here, every spring"
    • Negative Emotions
      • structure and form
        • the first few lines of the poem contain large amounts of negative words and imagery, foreshadowing the later negative events referenced in the final stanza
          • "festered", "rotted", "sweltered", "punishing"
      • title
        • "Death" instantly gives the poem a slightly darker and more sinister tone, foreshadowing the negative ending
      • "I sickened, turned, and ran"
        • the childish innocence that sparked his joy and wander has been ruined as he grew older, destroying a once fun experience for him
      • "obscene threats"
        • the creatures he once adored were now seen as threatening and dangerous to him, showing the change form positive to negative emotions connected to the frogspawn
    • Change
      • repetition of "croaking"
        • a change can be seen from when heany first writes "croaking" to the seond time, the meaning has changed from a nice, innocent sounding croak in the first stanza to a "course coraking" in the seond, showing the change of viewpoint from the speaker
      • structure and form
        • the poem is structure so that the fist stanzas speaks positively of the frogspawn the speaker sees, seen through words such as "delightfully" and "best of all", whereas stanza two depicts it as vulgar and evil, shown through words such as "threats" and "grenades"
      • "great slime kings" compared to "mammy frog" and "daddy frog"
        • shows the change in perspective from the speaker and the loss of innocence as he now knows the true nature of the frogs and feels differently towards them compared to when he was young and naive
      • change from frogs to tadpoles
        • "warm thick slobber/ Of frogspawn" - shows the wonder of the speaker, "angry frogs" - shows the now negative perception of frogs


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