Growth and Experience

In: English and Literature

Submitted By rollinsma
Words 920
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For Heaney it is the small events of the past that are the windows to the present.
(Growth and Experience)

Seamus Heaney often makes a connection between the past and the present, to explore human growth and experience in his poetry. In poems such as Punishment, The Tollund Man, and Death of a Naturalist, Heaney draws on the past to explore contemporary conflicts such as the Irish Troubles and the maturation of humans in general. Through his use of metaphors representing the problems of the past, the reader gains an insight into the bigger picture of human nature, and what changes throughout time.

Human growth and experience is a main concern in Heaney’s ‘Death of a Naturalist’. In this poem Heaney explores the transition from innocence to experience acquired with age, and how this personal growth changes the speaker’s views in life. The language used by the speaker in the first stanza such as ‘mammy’ and ‘daddy’ connotes the innocence of the child at the beginning of the poem. His selection of words also had this effect, words like “bubble” and “butterflies” that the speaker talks about also evoke happiness and pleasure associated with a young innocent child. There is also a break between the two verses of the poem and the second stanza begins with the word ‘then’. This particular word signifies the change in the child, both in age and in mentality. The line “I ducked through hedges to a coarse croaking that I had not heard before,” also suggests a change in the speaker. It was not necessarily that he had never heard a frog croak before, but rather, he had never heard it in that light. He had a new way of viewing this sound that came with both age and experience. The idea of the frogs seeking vengeance on him for the way he treated them as a child also acts in this way. It suggests a change in mentality for him as he is able to process this concept and…...

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