Death of a Naturalist notes

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Death of a Naturalist
Themes: Nature, Death, Danger, Love, and Memory.
Language
`Bubbles gargled delicately' ­ multisensory description
Onomatopoeia ­ `Bubbles gargled delicately' creates a calm image, where everything
moves slowly due to the heat.
Personification ­ `Bubbles gargled delicately' ­ sense of beauty even though it is unpleasant
­ poetic literal way
Sibilance `sound around the smell' ­ makes it sound soft and pleasant.
Alliteration `coarse croaking' the harsh `c' sound creating a violence, adding to the
unpleasant, threatening nature of the frogs to the child (Heaney)
Simile `their loose necks pulsed like sails' gives a sense of the movement of the necks of
the frogs moving like something manmade. Sails can be large, which also makes this
movement seem large and exaggerated.
Colloquial terms ­ `mammy' he is at school, childish explanation, reminder of his
youth/innocence and fascination
Military Semantic field ­ `poised like mud grenades' an explosive image which makes it
seem like the frogs may explode at any time, giving a sense of the movement of a typical
frog, sitting quite still then suddenly leaping to their next place of rest. This all adds to the
dangerous and angry image of the frogs here.
Metaphor their blunt heads farting' is a gross, unpleasant image, making the sound of a fart
link to the noise the croaking frogs make, which makes it seem natural but unpleasant and
disgusting (also linking to the rotten smell).
Anthropomorphosis ­ `the angry frogs'
Structure
Second stanza ­ change in tone
Preposition `Then' change in tone, positive followed by nagative
Enjambment ­ `I had not heard/Before.' Shows excitement and fear.
Irony ­ Title of the poem ­ `naturalist' would normally mean someone with expert scientific
knowledge of living things and ecology

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