Discuss The Poems Death Of A Naturalist And Personal Helicon By

1140 words - 5 pages

Discuss the poems Death of a Naturalist and Personal Helicon by
Seamus Heaney

Both poems examined revolve around the youth of Seamus Heaney. In both
poems the reader is told about Heaney's memories as a child and his
progressing memories as he grows up and understands his surroundings
more from an adults perspective. This essay will look at and evaluate
how the adult has been moulded from his childhood experiences, Discuss
and explain Seamus Heaney's use of language and tone to portray his
personal feelings, as well as events that led him to the stage of life
he was at and foreseeing from his child perspective and at the stage
he was at when he wrote the poems.

Children are naturally curious and interested about the things in life
that they are unaware and unsure of; in the case of 'death of a
naturalist' it is the aspects of nature, frogs, which, to him were
just the 'mammy and daddy frogs' merely harmless creatures. The writer
conveys that he took frogspawn from the pond, the frogs substantial
home. The result of him sealing the frogspawn causes Heaney to suffer
a guilty conscience, almost as if the frogs are coming to get him for
taking their children, his reality of the frogs turns into an
interpretation of evil, the object of fascination becomes 'slime
kings' and 'angry frogs' the vision of them is that they will attack
if anymore is taken.

Again in the second poem 'Personal Helicon' tells about his curiosity
for things this being wells. He would like to gaze long and mystically
into the pale whiteness of his own reflection. He also liked getting
dirty. The first verse appeals to sight and smell and is portrayed
through the 'smells of dank moss' and the 'dark drop and trapped sky'.
The second to sound and sight and is portrayed using language like
'rich crash' and 'saw no reflection'. The third appeals to touch and
sight and is portrayed using 'soft mulch' and 'a white' giving the
impression of a cold colour also. The forth to sound and sight and is
portrayed using 'echoes' and 'music' and 'call' all give a loudness
about the verse 'a rat slapped' a scary sight, given its scariness
from his use of language. The fifth verse to all three mentioned
senses, touch sight and smell portrayed by him 'fingering slime' and
how he would 'stare' and the ringing 'echoing' of the darkness. This
is he uses language to evoke a sentiment upon the reader with words.

Both poems encounter his childhood experiences of nature, his feelings
and view as a child. Heaney's use of language 'rotted' 'sweltered' and
'gargled' are one use of language used to evolve an image of his
innocence. Another technique Heaney uses to form an image of innocence
is how he called the frogs 'Mammy' and 'Daddy' frogs along with
'jellied specs' would then turn into tadpoles, further promote the
childhood view of what he was unsure of and where the frogspawn came
from and what it was. Therefore when he realised he was stealing the

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