A Comparison of Death of a Naturalist and Digging by Seamus Heaney Essays

A Comparison of Death of a Naturalist and Digging by Seamus Heaney Essays

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A Comparison of Death of a Naturalist and Digging by Seamus Heaney

The poems 'Death of a Naturalist' and 'Digging' have many
similarities, and contrasts. Some of the reoccurring themes in the two
poems include memories of childhood and changes in the life of the
writer. There are contrasts too, in 'Death of a Naturalist'; the
writer is concentrating on himself and his own experiences in life,
rather than the experiences of others. In 'Digging', the opposite is
true, as the writer concentrates mainly on the events in other
people's lives, namely his father and grandfather. The endings of both
the poems have a different feel to them. 'Digging' finishes in a much
more positive tone than 'Death of a Naturalist', which ends on a lower
note, of the writer realising his own cynicism. In spite of this, both
poems have similar tones in their openings, creating opposing feelings
when compared with their final stanzas.

The poet, Seamus Heaney wrote these poems. He was born on April 13th
1939 and was the eldest of nine children. His parents, Margaret and
Patrick Heaney brought Seamus and his siblings up on a farm thirty
miles from Belfast in County Derry.

Later in his life, he went to St Josephs College in Belfast and
studied English and where he also earned a Teaching Certificate. Later
in his life he became a lecturer at this college. There he joined a
poetry workshop along with such writers as Derek Machon and Michael
Longly. In 1965 Seamus published a total of eleven poems and married
Marie Deulin. He fathered two sons named Michael and Christopher.

'Death of Naturalist' and 'Digging' both give the impression of
looking back in time...

... middle of paper ...

...is poem as it is very much centred on growing up and the changes
that humans go through in a lifetime, and how they view things
differently as they mature. The use of language is evocative,
colourful and full of the love of life as well as the subsequent
disappointment as viewed by the poet, both as a boy and in his later

'Digging' in my opinion is an excellent poem, it has random stanza
length which gives the idea of freedom. There is a rhythm in its style
and it evokes a certain feeling of nostalgia that I find summons up
images I can relate to.

'By God, the old man could handle a spade,

Just like his old man',

This line not only refers to the continuity of the family but also the
pride and love felt between them.

Both these poems use effective language and hold potent meaning

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