Death of naturalist Essay

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Death of naturalist

This poem is a fertile mixture of imagery, sounds and an impression
created by nature on people’s mind. Heaney sensualises an outstanding
fear of the physical wonders of the world. He vividly describes his
childhood experience that precipitates his change as a boy from the
receptive and protected innocence of childhood to the fear and
uncertainty of adolescence. As he wonders along the pathways of
salient discovery, Heaney’s imagination bursts into life.

The title of the poem is amusingly ironic – by a naturalist we would
normally think of someone with expert scientific knowledge of living
things and ecology.

The poem ‘Death of a naturalist’ has quite a lot of emotional images
because it’s the poet’s
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Heaney uses onomatopoeia in the words
‘slap’ and ‘plop’ to create an image on the readers mind.

This section also shows the punishment from offended nature for the
boys arrogance – when he sees what nature is really like, he is
terrified. This part of the poem is also very ambiguous – we see the
horror of the plague of frogs, ‘obscene’ and gathered’ for
‘vengeance.’ – at least in the child’s mind. But we also see the scene
a little bit more objectively – as it really was. Young Heaney was
always used to seeing nature very close up but perhaps he never went
beyond the simple account of ‘mommy’ and ‘daddy frogs’.

The arrival of the frogs is almost like an enemy invasion – they are
‘angry’ and invade the dam. The boy ‘ducked through hedges’ hiding
from the enemy. Like firearms they are ‘cocked’ and ‘poised like mud
grenades.’

The theme in Death of a naturals is the power of nature. This is
illustrated when the frogs have power of the author as a child. The
powerful theme is conveyed in the second stanza as phrases like
‘angry,’ ‘threat’ and ‘vengeance.’ The frogs are ‘poised like mud
grenades’ which brings out images of guns and strength,

The other central theme is childhood and growing up. The poet is
describing his happy attitude towards nature and frogspawn was ‘best
of all.’ Heaney’s school teacher Miss Walls constantly uses childish
language, like ‘mommy’ and ‘daddy frogs’ to convey his innocence at
that age. In the…