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Comparison of Robert Frost's and Seamus Heaney’s poetry, Essay

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In Seamus Heaney’s poetry, there is a recurring theme of his talking of the past, and more predominantly about significant moments in time, where he came to realisations that brought him to adulthood. In “Death of a Naturalist” Heaney describes a moment in his childhood where he learnt that nature was not as beautiful as seem to be when he was just a naive child. Heaney does this on a deeper level in “Midterm Break” describes his experience of his younger brothers funeral and the mixed, confusing feelings he encountered, consequently learning that he no longer was a child, and had no choice but to be exposed to reality. Robert Frost in one sense also describes particular moments in time, where his narrator comes to realisations. However, Frost writes more indirectly than Heaney, and all together more metaphorically. In “A Leaf Treader” he symbolically talks about life and death through the autumn season. He does the same, in “The Road Not Taken” where the two roads are described to be a metaphor for the decisions one makes in life, and the inevitable regrets we face due to those decisions. In “Stopping by a Woods on a Snowy Evening” Frost directly talks directly of a moment in time, however the significant meaning being that in life one needs a moment of solace to appreciate peace and beauty.
Heaney’s “Death of a Naturalist” talks of a moment in Heaney’s childhood, however is metaphorical for aging and the loss of innocence. Heaney uses the first stanza to tell the reader of his memories of the flax dams as being somewhat wonderful by using colloquial language “Best of all was the warm thick slobber” to sound enthusiastic about that particular moment in time. The list of three “warm, thick slobber” is highly onomatopoeic, conseq...


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...ttachment or emotion. Again, Heaney repeats the use of a discourse marker, to highlight how vividly he remembers the terrible time “Next morning, I went up into the room”. In contrast to the rest of the poem, Heaney finally writes more personally, beginning with the personal pronoun “I”. He describes his memory with an atmosphere that is soft and peaceful “Snowdrops and Candles soothed the bedside” as opposed to the harsh and angry adjectives previously used such as “stanched” and “crying”. With this, Heaney is becoming more and more intimate with his time alone with his brother’s body, and can finally get peace of mind about the death, but still finding the inevitable sadness one feels with the loss of a loved one “A four foot box, a foot for every year”, indirectly telling the reader how young his brother was, and describing that how unfortunate the death was.




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