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Critical essay revision

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Presentation on theme: "Critical essay revision"— Presentation transcript:

1 Critical essay revision
Death of a Naturalist Critical essay revision

2 Task Choose a poem which portrays the natural world in a threatening or unpleasant way. Highlight the techniques used by the poet to create this portrayal. What is the theme explored by the poet through this portrayal? Answers to questions on poetry should address relevantly the central concern(s)/theme(s) of the text(s) and be supported by reference to appropriate poetic techniques such as: imagery, verse form, structure, mood, tone, sound, rhythm, rhyme, characterisation, contrast, setting, symbolism, word choice . . .

3 Writing an effective introduction
Text and poet/playwright/author correctly introduced Task- use the words of the question Theme-specify the main concern of the text (usually asked for in the task). Technique- say that you will be looking at how the theme is conveyed-you can specify some of the techniques you will look at.

4 For example ‘Death of a Naturalist by Seamus Heaney describes a childhood experience involving the threatening side of nature. Heaney uses a variety of poetic techniques, such as word choice, imagery and sound effects to explore his theme: the loss of innocence illustrated by a young boy’s encounter with the intimidating sight and sound of massed bullfrogs during the mating season.

5 Conclusion Be brief. Again return to the task. In this case you were asked how effectively the poet explained his main ideas. Do not introduce any new points. Include some personal response/evaluation relevant to the task

6 For example Thus, the poet has made use of a number of poetic techniques to communicate his main ideas- both the threat of the natural world and the transition from childhood to adulthood through a loss of innocence and naivety. I found this a highly effective and memorable poem.

7 Useful phrases for commenting on poetic technique
Heaney’s choice of the word ____ is effective because The metaphor____helps convey This example of onomatopoeia suggests---- This image helps imagine----- We are given the sense of----- This word has connotations of------ This appeals to ou r sense of smell because------ This communicates the idea of This is effective/memorable because------

8 Useful words for personal response and evaluation
Thought provoking Helped me gain insight into… Increased by understanding of… Effective Memorable Moving Engaging Made me think in a new way Challenged me to consider afresh the idea….

9 Be specific in your analysis
An effective use of a simile is ‘their loose necks pulsed like sails’. This emphasises the way in which the frogs move and provides a good image of what they looked like.

10 Better Heaney makes use of language and imagery connected with warfare to underline the sense of threat . The simile ‘like mud grenades’ used to describe the frogs has connotations of danger as well as being suggestive of dirt and filth. The poet suggests the frogs resemble a military invasion as the boy ‘ducks through hedges’ to hide from the enemy. The word choice of ‘cocked’ usually applied to a gun conveys the idea the frogs are ready to attack. These ideas relating to battle are very effective in reflecting how the natural world can seem threatening.

11 All year the flax-dam festered in the heart Of the townland; green and heavy headed Flax had rotted there, weighted down by huge sods. Daily it sweltered in the punishing sun. Bubbles gargled delicately, bluebottles Wove a strong gauze of sound around the smell. There were dragon-flies, spotted butterflies,

12 But best of all was the warm thick slobber Of frogspawn that grew like clotted water In the shade of the banks. Here, every spring

13 I would fill jampotfuls of the jellied Specks to range on window-sills at home, On shelves at school, and wait and watch until The fattening dots burst into nimble- Swimming tadpoles.

14 Miss Walls would tell us how The daddy frog was called a bullfrog And how he croaked and how the mammy frog Laid hundreds of little eggs and this was Frogspawn. You could tell the weather by frogs too For they were yellow in the sun and brown In rain.

15 Then one hot day when fields were rank With cowdung in the grass the angry frogs Invaded the flax-dam; I ducked through hedges To a coarse croaking that I had not heard Before. The air was thick with a bass chorus. Right down the dam gross-bellied frogs were cocked On sods; their loose necks pulsed like sails. Some hopped: The slap and plop were obscene threats.

16 Some sat Poised like mud grenades, their blunt heads farting
Some sat Poised like mud grenades, their blunt heads farting. I sickened, turned, and ran. The great slime kings Were gathered there for vengeance and I knew That if I dipped my hand the spawn would clutch it.

17 Possible structure 1.Introduction
2.Initial description of the flax dam – some beauty but hints of death/decay/threat Festered/rotted/sweltering/punishing/gauze of sound/bubbles gargled delicately/spotted butterflies/dragonflies

18 The word choice ‘festered’ creates an unpleasant sense of the stench at the flax dam crated by the rotting plant matter. Although the onomatopoeia of ‘bubble’ and ‘gargle’ created a gentle soothing sound of water, threat is created by the description of the sun as ‘punishing’. The heat is unpleasant and uncomfortable with the word choice ’sweltering’ adding to this impression….

19 3.Childhood innocence and enthusiasm
‘but best of all…’ ‘warm, thick slobber… Childlike vocabulary and sentence structure mammy frog/daddy frog/ length of sentence/repeated ‘and’ 4. Disgusting imagery and smell of the frogs

20 5.Use of sound techniques
6.Military imagery and language 7. Personification/ child’s sense of threat interpretation of the frogs’ behaviour as punishment/ vengeance 8. Conclusion


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