Death of a Naturalist

  • Created by: Iris02
  • Created on: 05-05-19 17:41
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  • Death of a Naturalist by Seamus Heaney
    • Context
      • Grew up on a farm
        • Nature and his surroundings - information from his own life
      • His brother passed away at the age of four in a car crash
        • many of Heaney's poems about the loss of innocence
      • Romantic poet
    • Structure/tone
      • Stanza One
        • no rhyming scheme, but rhyimg within the lines, along with repetition imitates a denseness
          • Also shown with repetition of vowel sounds and assonance within the first stanza
            • "green and heavy headed", "huge sods", "clotted water"
        • As Heaney goes on to write in a childish tone, the lines end in enjambment, or cut in the middle with a caesura
          • to imitate the paced voice of a child, filled with excitement and observing
      • The poem is set out in two seperate stanzas, representing childhood and the present, innocence and beauty, and evil and domination
      • Stanza 2
        • Change of tone with "Then"
        • harshness of "rank" and "dung" contrasts to stanza 1
        • consonance in the stanza creates harsh sounds
        • Caesuras within the lines creates a sense of fear, and despite some humorous language, "great slime kings", the juxtaposition turns this around
    • Language
      • Initially, Heaney describes the place as decaying already
        • "flax-dam festered", "green and heavy-headed", "rotted"
          • The place has always been their, it has always looked the same, the only thing that has really changed is how you view it
        • He then however talks about the frog spawn in a positive manor, showing his interest as a child
          • "warm thick slobber", "bubbles gargled delicately"
      • Harsh wording in second stanza
        • Words relating to war in last stanza
          • "Invaded", "cocked", "mud grenades"
            • creates the sense of harm and death, the ending
        • Nature has a dark side
          • Onomatopoeia of "slap" and "pop" is more of a threatening sound compared to "Bubbles gargled delicately"
          • repeated use of "flax-dam" in the second stanza reinforces the idea that this is exactly the same place that he was so curious about in his childhood, and how it can also be the exact opposite of what he once though it was
          • Frogs are described as being repugnant, "gross-bellied frogs", "blunt heads farting"
            • this compares to the "daddy" and "mammy" frogs in the first stanza
            • "great slime kings", "vengeance"
              • domination of frogs, domination of nature
              • something evil, looking for revenge, nature taking itself back for human invasion
      • Repetitive vowel sounds,a dn alliteration and assonance makes the reading more slow, and imitate the thick and wetness of a flax-dam
    • Key ideas
      • Childhood
        • Innocence and curiosity of childhood
        • As looking at this scene, Heaney has a flashback to his childhood
          • His teacher telling him about the frogs in the pond
            • "Miss Walls would tell us how The daddy frog was called a bullfrog"
              • Childish tone - bringing the audience to the scene and mind of a child
          • Positive memories
            • "But best of all was the warm thick slobber of frogspawn"
            • first stanza
              • Second stanza representing the growing old, change of mind/perception in adulthood
      • Passing of time
        • Separation of the two stanzas
          • First being filled with curiosity and innocence, the desire to know as much as he could
            • Shown with the childish tone of the stanza
              • "Miss Walls would tell us how The daddy frog was called a bullfrog"
                • Childish tone - bringing the audience to the scene and mind of a child
          • Second stanza focusing on the loss of innocence
            • Images of war
              • "vengeance", "Invaded the flax-dam", "mud grenades"
            • Hit with reality, fear, represented by disgust
              • "I sickened, turned, and ran"
        • The title
          • Death suggests the ending of something
            • "Naturalist" is what has died
              • In the poem, the child's interest in the nature is representing the curiosity and innocence of the child
                • The curiosity and innocence dies as people grow older into adulthood
      • Nature
        • The exploration of Nature
          • Used to show the innocence and curiosity of the child
            • Lot's of different verbs in the first stanza to show this, positively
              • "festered", "gargled", "clotted
          • The flax-dam is in the "heart of the townland
            • People thrive off of the innocence
              • a big part of childhood is the innocence they have
        • In the second stanza, nature seems to dominate and take over
          • The loss of innocence is inevitable, and is very powerful
  • Childish language used in first stanza
    • "Gargled", "jampotfuls", "daddy frog", "You could tell the weather by the frogs too"
      • to show the innocence and wonder
    • Language
      • Initially, Heaney describes the place as decaying already
        • "flax-dam festered", "green and heavy-headed", "rotted"
          • The place has always been their, it has always looked the same, the only thing that has really changed is how you view it
        • He then however talks about the frog spawn in a positive manor, showing his interest as a child
          • "warm thick slobber", "bubbles gargled delicately"
      • Harsh wording in second stanza
        • Words relating to war in last stanza
          • "Invaded", "cocked", "mud grenades"
            • creates the sense of harm and death, the ending
        • Nature has a dark side
          • Onomatopoeia of "slap" and "pop" is more of a threatening sound compared to "Bubbles gargled delicately"
          • repeated use of "flax-dam" in the second stanza reinforces the idea that this is exactly the same place that he was so curious about in his childhood, and how it can also be the exact opposite of what he once though it was
          • Frogs are described as being repugnant, "gross-bellied frogs", "blunt heads farting"
            • this compares to the "daddy" and "mammy" frogs in the first stanza
            • "great slime kings", "vengeance"
              • domination of frogs, domination of nature
              • something evil, looking for revenge, nature taking itself back for human invasion
      • Repetitive vowel sounds,a dn alliteration and assonance makes the reading more slow, and imitate the thick and wetness of a flax-dam

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