Death of a Naturalist



  • Heaney's brother died when he was young and the death affected Heaney badly. Most of his poems are about the loss of innocence.
  • He grew up on a farm and many of his poems are based on upbringing.


  • Poem focuses a lot on the loss of childhood innocence as Heaney views the darker side of nature.
  • Heaney feels threatened and frightened which is shown at the end of the poem.


"festered, heavy, rotted, weighted, sweltered, punishing, gargled" - Negative language which foreshadows how the speaker feels towards the end of the poem.

"Heart, green, bubbles, delicately" - Positive language in an oxymoronic sense.

"dragon-flies, butterflies" - Beautiful creatures, he only sees beauty.

"but best of all was the warm thick slobber... grew like clotted water" - Negative imagery (foreshadows)

"in the shade…


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