A Comparison Between Death of a Naturalist and Digging Essay

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A Comparison Between Death of a Naturalist and Digging

For GCSE course work we have to compare two poems from a foreign culture. The two poems we picked were both by the popular Irish poem
‘Seamus Heaney.’ The two poems we’re looking at ‘Death of a
Naturalist’ and ‘Digging’ could be seen as autobiographical. ‘Death of a Naturalist’ is basically about a young boy who had a keenness for nature, which has disintegrated throughout a summer. ‘Digging’ is about the poet remembering his childhood, he writes about about digging as though it is patriotic of his family. He talks about fore fathers and how he will continue this tradition, not by digging on a farm but with his pen, writing.

Although with seemingly different storylines,
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Heaney also uses enjambment to keep the poem more authentic and story like. In both poems the poet uses figurative language to great effect, and you get the feeling that each image has a double meaning, from
‘Digging’ I chose this example

‘The squat pen rests: snug as a gun’

The word squat could mean short or low or disproportionately wide, but it could also mean to ‘unlawfully occupy a space.’ Although in this extract I think the first mention analysis is probably the most likely. The poet describes the pen as squat, like it doesn’t fit right in his hand.

The use of the word ‘rests’ could mean to cease work, or to rest on, as in to depend on but in this case I am more inclined to believe it is just to be placed on and stay in a specified position. The word rest is linked to the word sleep which makes you think of comfort. So now the writer is going back on his almost insult to the pen to say it now rests ‘snug as a gun.’ This phrase describes the way the pen rests as warm and cosy, like a gun ready to be used as his weapon.

An example of the use of similes in ‘Death of a Naturalist’ is

‘Poised like mud grenades’

I think this sentence gives off very strong visual images, as you really can imagine these frogs all lines up, almost like soldiers ready to
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