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Death of a Naturalist Analysis

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Death of a Naturalist

The poem, like Seamus Heaney's work, is very nature minded in terms of context. However, he describes the frogs in a very evil, sinister, and menacing way. It is about a child who collects frog spawn from the dam and collects it in jars. He is innocent and unaware of the evil that lurks in the frog spawn. We can see in the poem that the boy is young, when he remembers his teacher teaching him about the frogs, and his way of calling the frogs 'Daddy frog' and 'Mammy Frog'.

The poem heavily appeals to the senses, which describes the more sinister parts of nature. Because when people think of nature they usually think of the more beautiful parts of it (e.g. mountains etc.) The poems appeal to senses shows how filthy and grubby nature can be describing the sight, smell, sound, and touch. All of them bring out another grueling picture in the mind.

Heaney uses onomatopoeia to appeal to the sound part of the senses. Words like slap, pop, slobber, farting, and croaked illustrates the realism of how the flax-dam is. The use of using onomatopoeia is to describe the nature and the surroundings, and to show the uncertainty that is going through the boy's mind in the second stanza. Sibilant sounds are also used in the poem. Words like slap, slime, sods, and spawn show the uncertainty and the tension that the boy is under. Heaney also uses stop sounds to show his frightful and uncertain mood (Bluebottles, Poised, Grenades, Mud, Farting, Blunt, Kings, Vengeance etc). This stops the reader from flowing which gives a sense of uncertainty.

Heaney uses the description of the frogs to convey the uncertainty that the boy is feeling. He describes the frogs as '...angry', '...gross-bellied' (which also uses stop sounds). They are described as having '...loose necks' and '...blunt heads, farting'. This is used to describe the boy's abhorrence he has for the frogs. He refers to the frogs as '...great slime kings', which shows, in the boy's imagination, that the frogs are rebellious and that they have '...turned' on him, seeking '...for vengeance'. Another technique which Heaney uses to convey the frogs rebellious actions are using war terms about them. He depicts them as '...mud grenades' and that they '...invaded' the flax-dam. This



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