Death of a Naturalist Seamus Heaney Analysis Essays

Decent Essays

Death of a Naturalist analysis Title * Dramatic * Evokes sadness – Heaney’s childhood innocence is lost * Metaphorical death – ‘death of innocence’ Content * It is partially linked to Blackberry-Picking in that: * It shows the good side of nature * It shows the harshness of nature * It shows Heaney’s childhood * The first stanza, Heaney describes how the frogs would spawn in the lint hole, with a digression into his collecting the spawn, and how his teacher encouraged his childish interest in the process. * The second stanza deals with the harsh side of nature again; Heaney records how one day he heard a strange noise and went to investigate - and found that the frogs, in huge numbers, had …show more content…

The movement of flies is described with a metaphor: 'bluebottles / wove a strong gauze of sound around the smell', a fascinating image synthesising all the different senses, which enhances the experiences by conjuring up an atmosphere. Line seven hints at the beauty of the scene with its 'dragonflies, spotted butterflies'. * Lines fifteen to twenty-one (the end of the first stanza) are a very childlike account of how the schoolteacher, Miss Walls, taught Heaney's class about frogs and frogspawn. Simple, childish language features in this section, such as 'the mammy frog laid hundreds of little eggs'; there are four clauses each joined by 'and' in this sentence, just as though it were written by a child. The final sentence of the first stanza continues in the same style, telling us that frogs are yellow in sunny weather but 'brown / In rain'. The last, brief two-word line of the first stanza seems to underline the fact that this is the end of a period of innocence and that a change is forthcoming * Alliteration: ‘coarse croaking’ the harsh ‘c’ sound creating a violence, adding to the unpleasant, threatening nature of the frogs to the child (Heaney). * Onomatopoeia: ‘the slap and plop were obscene threats’, here ‘slap’ and ‘plop’ are both hard and unpleasant, almost vulgar sounds, emphasising the vulgar, slimy nature of the procreating frogs. * Simile: ‘their loose necks pulsed like sails’ gives a sense of the movement of the necks of the frogs

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