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Seamus Heaney's Background and Poetry Essay

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Seamus Heaney's Background and Poetry

Seamus Heaney had a Roman Catholic upbringing in a rural area of
Northern Ireland. How does his poetry reflect his background?

Heaney's poetry is able to reflect his background by his use of
language and the technique he expresses his experiences. I will cover
his background into three sections: his childhood, the community and
his reflections.

I will start by looking at his feelings and experiences in the poem
'Death of a Naturalist'. The poet remembers the time when he was a
young child. He saw the reality of what frogs were really like in the
outdoors compared to what was taught in school. In school, the frogs
are described like a typical teacher talking to young pupils. It is
very patronising and cosy hiding the fact that they are 'rank',
off-putting and sickening in certain ways. For e.g. "the dam
gross-bellied frogs were cocked" and " Poised like mud grenades, their
blunt heads farting". They are described as being like grenades due to
their size, shape, colour and the "scary" croaking noises that the
creature makes. It was a new experience for him for he had not heard
the noises before," to a coarse croaking that I had not heard before".
He did not feel in the right situation and it was like he had never
felt like that before. During his experience, he felt insecure,
anxious and self-doubting. He puts himself down for he blames himself
for the "obscene threats" the frogs were giving him.

His use of language is able to quickly adjust the mood from a pleasant
school setting to a horrid, smelly and repellent atmosphere. Heaney
understood the straightforward and simplistic teachings at school but
is bewildered and scared when he approaches the frogs. The po...


... middle of paper ...


... fascinated by her he knows he shouldn't be because
she has done wrong. Even though he feels so deeply of this girl he
realises how foolish he was by letting them carry on with the
punishment; "I who stood dumb".

In some cases Heaney is able to use oxymoron in order to describe how
society can be a catastrophe at times. He uses the descriptive words
"civilized outrage" to show this. He puts two opposite words together
to form a different meaning. Hence the word "civilize" and "outrage".

Heaney has experienced many tragedies in his life from "Mid Term
Break" to "Punishment". He clarifies this using his own expertise of
writing to create descriptive poems like these. What must be said
about him is how he is talented enough to deliver what is suppose to
be delivered, very effectively in order for a reader like me to have
such an impact on what is said.


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