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Man’s Everlasting Battle against Nature Essay

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Nature can be interpreted in many different ways. Some choose to view nature as a mother, giver of life as we depend on its food but sometimes we can’t trust nature as there are expectations that nature will betray us causing man to fight back to prevent this, forming an everlasting battle. In this area of study I will present this theme through the poems: Death of a Naturalist by Seamus Heaney, At a Potato Digging also by Seamus Heaney and Soil by R.S. Thomas.

Seamus Heaney is one of many Irish poets that depict the betrayal of nature in many of his poems mainly through the use of autobiographical poetry that gives us a deeper insight into the meaning. From Heaney’s anthology the poem Death of a Naturalist shows this the greatest as it is written within the poet’s own life and displays the lost of childhood innocence.

The poem has a simple structure rather than Heaney’s poem At a Potato Digging. In the first stanza there are twenty-one lines of blank verse as if to say he was speaking as a child successfully capturing the reader’s attention. The second stanza is similar; the only difference is that there are twelve lines. In the first stanza Heaney describes how the frogs would begin to spawn and how his teacher had encouraged his interest forcing him to steal the frogspawn. In this section we also learn that the setting is an Irish rural countryside, as it reflects an Irish flax- dam. The second stanza Heaney records how one day he was startled by a strange noise and was curious to find out what is was. Little did he know that the frogs had gathered, in large numbers, to seek revenge for stealing the frogspawn. This then changes Heaney’s perspective on nature and no longer is he interested in nature but now scared....


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...er especially using the words and phrases to compare the worker being in a prison just like Heaney did. This is successful and effective as it makes the reader empathise how the soil digger is feeling and adds authority and authenticity to the meaning that Thomas is trying to represent.

In conclusion, it’s evident from the poems studied above that nature can be seen as the betrayer especially after the Irish Potato Famine in 1845 were approximately two million people died. Following this, people have been battling against nature to avoid such events reoccurring but without nature life would be very difficult and just as I have said there are much more different interpretations of nature than just betrayal, as there is the beauty of nature, nature’s tranquility which can be represented through other poems, songs and music.






















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