Death of a Naturalist
All through Seamus Heaney’s poem “Death of a Naturalist” we discover the transformation of a young boy’s personality and his observation of nature. The poem is divided into two stanzas, the first portraying a child, like most others – fearless innocent and evoking a seemingly indestructible love for the gruesome confusion of nature. However, he develops into a searching adolescent guilt for taking the frogspawn in the second stanza. This change in personality conveys the central themes of the poem; growing up and loss of childhood innocence.
Stanza one begins with the young boy exploring and enjoying nature, full of innocence and wonder.
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The jars were arranged both at home and at school, and then carefully observed as the specks turned into “nimble-Swimming tadpoles”.
The turning point in the poem is easily recognisable as the poem is split into two stanzas. The second stanza begins with “Then”. This is a sign of where the boy’s change in personality and change in ideas take place; from an innocent, eager child to that of a guilty adolescent. Instantly we begin to see his guilty mind take over:
“Then one hot day when fields were rank
With cowdung in the grass the angry frogs”
The use of enjambment here emphasises the word “rank” which suggests something strong smelling of disgusting. This marks the change in his beliefs, for which previously he would have seen this as a wonderful delight. This change is reinforced by the “angry frogs”, as they had developed from their “jampotfuls of jellied specks” and now they were now coming for revenge for the boy stealing their spawn. In this adolescent stage, he is scared and has “ducked through hedges” in order to escape the invasion of the angry frogs. Heaney continues to enhance the boy’s changed personality as he reflects on new sights and sounds which he did not recognise when he was a young boy:
“ To a coarse croaking that I had not heard
This enjambment here emphasises the word “ before “ creating the image of the young boy’s lost...