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Compare And Contrast Death Of A Naturalist, An Advancement Of Learning

1474 words - 6 pages

Compare and Contrast Death of a Naturalist, An Advancement of Learning
and The Early Purges.

In this essay I am going to discuss ‘Death of a Naturalist’, ‘An
Advancement of Learning’ and ‘The Early Purges’ by Seamus Heaney. I
will focus on the similarities and differences between these poems in
terms of what they are about, their language and themes.

The first out of the three poems by Heaney that I have studied is
‘Death of a Naturalist’. This poem is about Heaney as a young child,
exploring a field. He comes across frogspawn and remembers when his
teacher would tell him about how the “Daddy frog was called a bull
frog”, “and how the mammy frog laid hundreds of little eggs and this
was frogspawn”. Heaney then writes about when he used to steal the
frog spawn and put it into a jam jar for school, and how he would
watch them grow into tadpoles. When he finishes describing what he
did, Heaney starts a new stanza. The mood changes in stanza in this
stanza. Heaney describes the frogs as angry, and that they were
croaking in a way he had never heard; “The air was thick with a bass
chorus.” Heaney claims in the poem, that the frogs were angry at him
for stealing the frogspawn when he was younger. Heaney “sickened,
turned and ran.” The second poem entitled “An Advancement of
Learning”. This poem is about Heaney taking a walk along an embankment
and coming across a rat that was crawling out of the river. Heaney
writes “I turned down the path in cold sweat”. However he comes across
another rat. Heaney claims that the rat was staring at him,
“insidiously listening”. He describes the rat having “raindrop” eyes.
Heaney stares back at the rat – “forgetting how he used to panic” when
he lived on a farm. The rat “retreated” back up a sewage pipe. Heaney
then says” Then I walked on and crossed the bridge”. The third and
final poem I will write about is “The Early Purges”. This poem is
about Heaney when he lived on his farm. He talks about when he was six
years of age and sees kittens being drowned in a bucket by a man
called Dan Taggart. He writes how they were drowned by water being
pumped down there small lungs and then being thrown on a dung hill,
where they were left to rot in summer heat. Heaney is shocked by this.
He forgot about his fear of the animals being killed until Dan trapped
“big rats, snared rabbits, shot crows or, with a sickening tug, pulled
old hens’ necks. He soon changes his attitude towards the killing of
the animals. Heaney sees that the killing of the animals is a natural
process and makes scene. He states; “And now, when shrill pups are
prodded to drown, I just shrug, ‘bloody pups’.” He sees the animals
killed as pests as that is how he was brought up to think. All the
poems have some relation to an animal and a fear and take place when
Heaney was a child. For example of an animal and fear in ‘Death of a
Naturalist’ the animal is a frog and the fear is that the frogs will
attack, in ‘An...

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