Presentation on theme: "Death of a Naturalist By Seamus Heaney. All year the flax-dam festered in the heart Of the townland; green and heavy headed Flax had rotted there, weighted."— Presentation transcript:
Death of a Naturalist By Seamus Heaney
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 gargles delicately, bluebottles Wove a strong gauze of sound around the smell. There were dragon-flies, spotted butterflies, 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 I would fill jampotfuls of the jellied Specks to range on the window sills at home, On shelves at school, and wait and watch until The fattening dots burst into nimble- Swimming tadpoles. 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.
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. Some sat Poised like mud greandes, their blunt heads farting. I sickened 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
The Title Death of a Naturalist A naturalist is someone who studies nature – someone like David Attenborough or the late, great Steve Irwin.
The Title Death of a Naturalist Death sounds very dramatic, serious and alarming HOWEVER The death is not of a person but of a child’s dream and ambition.
The structure The structure of the poem is very, very simple. It is in two parts – 1)the young Heaney who loves nature and dreams of being a naturalist. 2)the slightly older Heaney who has a nasty experience involving frogs and is put off nature for life!!
The first part How do we get the impression of a young boy who loves nature and frogs? Excited tone – he is excited by all the facts he is learning about frogs, ‘Miss Wallis would tell us about how the daddy frog was called a bullfrog… and how he croaked and how the mammy frog lay hundreds of little eggs…’ Delight in the muddy, messy water – ‘bubbles gargled delicately’. He is a stereotypical little boy. Experimental and curious – ‘I collected jampotfuls of the jellied specks to range on windowsills at home’ Fascinated and proudly collecting facts – ‘you could tell the weather by frogs too’.
The Second Part How is the boy put off nature and frogs? He is convinced that the frogs have ganged up on him because they are angry that he has stolen their frogspawn – ‘the great slime kings were gathered there for vengeance’. He uses language of war to describe how they seem to attack him, ‘the angry frogs invaded’ ‘their loose necks pulsed like sails’ ‘some sat poised like mud grenades’. The nature that he was so fascinated by now seems disgusting- ‘the fields were rank with dung’ ‘gross bellied frogs’ ‘their blunt heads farting’ ‘I as sickened’ ‘the great slime kings’
Onomatopoeia Onomatopoeia is used very effectively in this poem to give an impression of the disgusting nature of the muddy frog pond. Words such as ‘croak’, ‘slap’ and ‘plop’ are all onomatopoeic.
Similes The poem uses similes to describe the frogs – ‘their loose necks pulsed like sails’ Some sat poised like mud grenades’