Death of a Naturalist by Seamus Heaney

Notes on Death of a Naturalist by Seamus Heaney

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  • Created on: 18-04-11 16:32
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Death of a Naturalist
Main Ideas
Transition from child to adult- sexualisation of the world, loss of innocence and need to grow
up and face realities of life
The death of childhood dreams and interests
Attitudes towards nature- fear, love, interest
War between man and nature, and easiness of moving from love to fear
Interest, a desire to explore the natural world and learn more of it, like a naturalist
Love of nature, like a naturalist
Fear of the power of nature
Disgust at the harsh realities of the world
Two parts- split chronologically. 1st half love of nature, 2nd disgust
1st half interest in finding out, 2nd half coming into knowledge of reality of natural world, and
disgust with it
Iambic pentameter- often loving, here begins that way and then changes, yet structure
remains, does he still want to love? Is that his prevalent state?
Enjambment, especially in 1st stanza, showing childhood excitement, also fear
Onomatopoeia used to create imagery of the scene, also adds a childlike sound. Could also
suggest difficulty in describing events with words, perhaps due to lack of knowledge or
strangeness of them.
At start unpleasant, yet poet not phased, suggesting not seeing unpleasantness, or interest
in it being stronger, or just pride in not caring, like many young boys
Alliteration use to create sound in reader's mind, emphasising emotions.
Sun is personified, changing character, which people can relate to?
Links to war, nature as a force to be loved or hated, and can help or destroy. Could link to
Irish troubles, transition from friend to foe, coming to realisation of problems and warfare as
growing older
Words linking to rotting, showing a degeneration of innocence


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