Rhapsody Workbook Answers Poem 4 Death of Naturalist
Death of Naturalist Long Answer Questions
What is the theme of the poem “Death of a Naturalist”?
Seamus Heaney’s one of the most celebrated poems, “Death of a Naturalist” talks about the innocence of the speaker’s childhood and his experience of becoming more aware of the life in the flax-dam.
In the first part of the poem, we see the speaker reflects on his childhood habit of taking frogspawn from the flax-dam and reflects on how Miss Walls, presumably a teacher, taught the speaker and his classmates about frogs; though the speaker does not quote her, his language morphs to echo how she would speak to the children, referring to male and female frogs as “daddy” and “mammy” frogs.
In the second part of the poem, the speaker has a new experience in the flax-dam, and his perception of his own actions shifts.
He now sees the frogs as “angry” who have “invaded” the flax-dam, where they are usually absent. They croak loudly and threateningly. The speaker feels sick and afraid, and he runs away from the scene. Through this poem, the poet makes us realize that the childhood do not last for eternity. Whenever a child starts to become mature, he or she loses his innocence and thus never feels the same.
How does the poet use ‘sound’ in this poem? How does sound guide the movement of the poem?
Heaney is known for his attention to sound, and “Death of a Naturalist” is no exception. In this poem, sound works hard to depict the physical attributes of the flax-dam. The first stanza is filled with words such as “sweltered,” “gargled,” “gauze,” “spotted,” “slobber,” and “clotted.”
Many of these words echo each other sonically, and the repeated “s” and “g” noises, in particular, minor the lively noises of the flax-dam. The second stanza, however, uses shorter, sharper words, such as “cocked,” “hopped,” “slap,” and “pop.” These words are as evocative as the ones in the first stanza, but they are tenser and show the change in the speaker’s attitude.
Even the sentences of the second stanza are shorter than those of the first. The first two sentences of the first stanza are three lines each, and the third sentence is nearly four. The first sentence of the second stanza is long, too, but from there until the last sentence of the poem, each sentence takes up only one or two lines. The effect is a tone that is less whimsical, and more clipped and withdrawn.
What part does Miss Walls play in this poem? Why does she come up at all?
The character of Miss Walls though appears only once, it plays a significant role in changing the mood of the poem. She acts as a way to mark the time period of this poem, to emphasize the speaker’s youth and to lend the poem into realism. She taught them about the bullfrogs or the male frogs and mammy frogs or the female frogs.
Mammy frogs laid hundreds of little eggs from which tadpoles emerged and they gradually became frogs. She also told them that frogs look yellow in the sun and brown in the rain. Her appearance in the poem may be a way for the speaker to show how adult authority figures shape children’s perceptions, even if they fade into the background and are overshadowed by the more fantastical elements of a child’s life, like frogspawn and the flax-dam.
What is the significance of the final sentence of the poem?
There is childlike innocence left in the speaker in the final lines of this poem; calling the frogs “slime kings” would almost be funny, if not for the fear and revulsion the speaker clearly feels. These lines are significant to the poem because the mention of vengeance makes plain why the speaker’s feelings change; he believes the frogs and the frogspawn are seeking retribution for the spawn he has stolen in the past.
However, it is interesting that the speaker imagines being sucked into the spawn instead of being attacked by the fearsome frogs. This may be a way for Heaney to show how internal the shift in the speaker is; he has dipped his hand into the frogspawn many times before without such fears.
If he merely feared being attacked by the frogs, he could return and take spawn once the frogs were gone. Heaney and the speaker want the reader to understand that he does not flee the dam due to a surface-level fear but due to an internal shift, that shift being the death of the naturalist within him, as the title indicates.
What is the significance of the title, “Death of a Naturalist”?
The poem, “Death of a Naturalist” is one of the best creations of Seamus Heaney. This poem is divided into two parts; the first part talks about the poet’s childhood experiences and also his love for Mother Nature and the second part shows the poet’s loss of innocence due to the formulation of adult identities, family relationships and the disillusionment with nature.
In the beginning of the poem, we see the description of a ‘flax-dam’ where the flax is expanded over a large area to soften its fibres, situated in the middle of a farm. When the poet visits the place as a child, he describes the flax-rotting process which hides the frogspawn. The poet collects those frogspawns in jars and takes those to home and then to school.
In this part of the poem, we see the description of the flax dam and its happenings through the eyes of a child but in the second part, we can see that the frogspawns have become frogs now, which turn threatening to the poet. Their movements, croaking and angry appearance make the poet “sickened.”
So he runs away, feeling disgusted. He is thus no longer attracted to the place. Therefore, this poem does not depict any literal death. As the speaker has now lost his interest in nature all of a sudden, the poet describes his disinterest as the death of a “naturalist.” Thus the title of this poem is apt.
Death of Naturalist Short Answer Questions
Write about the activities at the flax-dam described in the first part of the poem.
The poem, begins with the description of a flax-dam where the flax is expanded over a large area to soften its fibres, situated in the middle of a farm. The speaker visits this place as an innocent child and likes the environment there.
Here, the description of the rotting flax, its smell, the scorching heat of the sun, the gargling of the bubbles, the sound of the blue bottles are well-depicted. There are dragonflies and spotted butterflies too and the tadpoles are the main attraction there. The speaker of this poem loves to catch those tadpoles and then put them in jars.
What lesson did Miss Walls teach?
Miss Walls taught her students about the lifecycle of the frogs. She taught them about the bullfrogs or the male frogs and mammy frogs or the female frogs. Mammy frogs laid hundreds of little eggs from which tadpoles emerged and they gradually became frogs. She also told them that frogs look yellow in the sun and brown in the rain.
What scene is witnessed by the readers in the second part of the poem?
In the second part of the poem, the readers find the speaker in a matured state of mind. Here, we see the speaker, getting afraid of the frogs whom he found as “angry.” Their “coarse croaking”, queer appearance Made him “sickened” and so he “turned, and ran”. The place and the animals which used to be his favourite once, has now turned into his disgust.
Write about the style of writing the poem “Death of a Naturalist.”
This poem is constructed with two uneven stanzas that contain different messages. The longer stanza shows a child’s innocent mind, which eventually gets destroyed in the second stanza, where we see the child at the brim of becoming a matured person.
In this poem we can witness the use of blank verse and unrhymed pentameter. The poet has used several figures of speeches like similes (“like clotted water” etc.), metaphors (“fattening dots” etc.), onomatopoeia, alliteration (“To a coarse croaking” etc.) and assonance to add richness to this poem.
“That if I dipped my hand the spawn would clutch it.”- Why did the sneaker say so?
In second part of the poem, the readers find the speaker in a matured state of mind. Seeing the adult frogs the speaker felt terror as he considered them as angry. Their activities and appearance made him feel that they were gathered there to take revenge for what he did to their tadpoles. So, being afraid, the speaker said so. Here, we see how his innocence finally got damaged with these thoughts.
Death of Naturalist Poem Logic-Based Questions
Complete the following sentences by providing a REASON for each:
The flax in the flax darn rotted because____
Their fibres should be softened.
The dragonflies and spotted butterflies can also be seen in the flax-darn because________
This is the suitable place for them to he seen.
The speaker collects frogspawn’s because
He loves to watch them.
The speaker fills up his jars with frogspawns and takes them to home and school because______
He wants to watch their growth and activities.
The speaker says “You could tell the weather by frogs too” because_________
Frogs would be yellow in colour in the sun and brown in colour in the rain.
The stanza 2 begins with a more serious tone because________
This stanza introduces the speaker as a matured person who has lost his innocence.
The speaker lost his interest in frogs because
Their appearance and croaking make him scared of them.
The speaker thinks that “the great slime kings were gathered there for vengeance” because
They want to take revenge for stealing the tadpoles.
The frogs seem to be threatening to the speaker because____
The speaker thinks that they are angry for stealing their tadpoles.
The speaker “sickened, turned, and ran” because
He was scared of the adult frogs.
Death of Naturalist Poem About The Poet Seamus Heaney
Seamus Justin Heaneywas born on April 13, 1939 in Castledawson, County Derry, Northern Ireland. He earned a teacher’s certificate in English at St. Joseph’s College in Belfast and in 1963 took a position as a lecturer in English at that school. While at St. Joseph’s he began to write, joining a poetry workshop with Derek Mahon, Michael Longley, and others under the guidance of Philip Hobsbaum. In 1965, he married Marie Devlin, and the following year he published Death of a Naturalist.
After graduating from Queen’s University, Belfast, Heaney taught secondary school for a year and then lectured in colleges and universities in Belfast and Dublin. He became a member of the Field Day Theatre Company in 1980, soon after its founding by playwright Brian Friel and actor Stephen Rea. In 1982 he joined the faculty of Harvard University as visiting professor and, in 1985, became full professor – a post he retained while teaching at the University of Oxford.
As a poet from Northern Ireland, Heaney used his work to reflect upon the “Troubles,” the often-violent political struggles that plagued the country during Heaney’s young adulthood. The poet sought to weave the ongoing Irish troubles into a broader historical frame embracing the general human situation in the books Wintering Out (1973) and North (1975). While some reviewers criticized Heaney for being an apologist and mythologizer, Morrison suggested that Heaney would never reduce political situations to false simple clarity and never thought his role should be as a political spokesman.
The author “has written poems directly about the Troubles as well as elegies for friends and acquaintances who have died in them; he has tried to discover a historical framework in which to interpret the current unrest; and he has taken on the mantle of public spokesman, someone looked to for comment and guidance,” noted Morrison. Heaney’s first foray into the world of translation began with the Irish lyric poem Buile Suibhne. The work concerns an ancient king who, cursed by the church, is transformed into a mad bird-man and forced to wander in the harsh and inhospitable countryside.
Heaney’s translation of the epic was published as Sweeney Astray: A Version from the Irish (1984). New York Times Book Review contributor Brendan Kennedy deemed the poem “a balanced statement about a tragically unbalanced mind.
One feels that this balance, urbanely sustained, is the product of a long, imaginative bond between Mr. Heaney and Sweeney.” This bond is extended into Heaney’s 1984 volume Station Island, where a series of poems titled “Sweeney Redivivus” take up Sweeney’s voice once more. The poems reflect one of the book’s larger themes, the connections between personal choices, dramas and losses and larger, more universal forces such as history and language.
In The Haw Lantern (1987) Heaney extends many of these preoccupations. Heaney’s prose constitutes an important part of his work. Heaney often used prose to address concerns taken up obliquely in his poetry. In The Redress of Poetry (1995), according to James Longenbach in the Nation.
“Heaney wants to think of poetry not only as something that intervenes in the world, redressing or correcting imbalances, but also as something that must be redressed— re-established, celebrated as itself.” The book contains a selection of lectures the poet delivered at Oxford University as Professor of Poetry.
Heaney’s Finders Keepers: Selected Prose, 1971-2001 (2002) earned the Truman Capote Award for Literary Criticism, the largest annual prize for literary criticism in the English language. John Carey in the London Sunday Times proposed that Heaney’s “is not just another book of literary criticism…It is a record of Seamus Heaney’s thirty-year struggle with the demon of doubt.
The questions that afflict him are basic. What is the good of poetry? How can it contribute to society? Is it worth the dedication it demands?” Heaney himself described his essays as “testimonies to the fact that poets themselves are finders and keepers, that their vocation is to look after art and life by being discoverers and custodians of the unlooked for.”
In 2009, Seamus Heaney turned 70. A true event in the poetry world, Ireland marked the occasion with a 12-hour broadcast of archived Heaney recordings. It was also announced that two-thirds of the poetry collections sold in the UK the previous year had been Heaney titles.
Such popularity was almost unheard of in the world of contemporary poetry, and yet Heaney’s voice is unabashedly grounded in tradition. Heaney’s belief in the power of art and poetry, regardless of technological change or economic collapse, offers hope in the face of an increasingly uncertain future.
In June of 2012, Heaney was awarded the Lifetime Recognition Award from the Griffin Trust For Excellence in Poetry. He was also a Foreign Member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and held the chair of professor of poetry at Oxford University from 1989 to 1994.
In 1995, he received the Nobel Prize in Literature. Heaney was a resident of Dublin from 1976 to 2013. Beginning in 1981, he also spent part of each year teaching at Harvard University, where, in 1984, he was elected the Boylston Professor of Rhetoric and Oratory. Seamus Heaney passed away in Dublin on August 30, 2013. He was seyenty-four.
Death of Naturalist About the Poem
The poem, “Death of a Naturalist” is one of the best creations of Seamus Heaney, published in 1966. This poem is divided into two parts; the first part talks about the poet’s childhood experiences and also his love for Mother Nature and the second part shows the poet’s loss of innocence due
to the formulation of adult identities, family relationships and the disillusionment with nature.
In the beginning of the poem, we see the description of a ‘flax-dam’ where the flax is expanded over a large area to soften its fibres, situated in the middle of a farm. When the poet visits the place as a child, he describes the flax-rotting process which hides the frog spawn. The poet collects those frogs pawns in jars and takes those to home and then to school. In this part of the poem, we see the description of the flax dam“
and its happenings through the eyes of a child but in the second part, we can see that the frogs pawns have become frogs now, which turn threatening to the poet. Their movements, croaking and angry appearance make the poet “sickened.” So he runs away, feeling disgusted. He is thus no longer attracted to the place. Through the poet’s change of attitude, the readers witness how a person leaves his innocence and enters adulthood.
Death of Naturalist Poem in Detail
The poem “Death of a Naturalist” is written by Seamus Heaney which is one of his finest creations. In this poem, we can see how a person loses his innocence and enters his adulthood and with this, the whole scenario changes.
The poem, begins with the description of a flax-dam where the flax is expanded over a large area to soften its fibres, situated in the middle of a farm. Flax rots there, “weighed down by huge sods.” Every day it is mouldered under the hot sun. Delicate bubbles come up from the swamp and flies buzz around, mixing sound and smell.
Dragonflies and butterflies are also mentioned there the main attraction is the tadpoles which are seen wriggling in the flax dam. In the first part of the poem, the poet is seen as a child who has a fascination for tadpoles. When the poet visits the place as a child, he describes the flax-rotting process which hides the frogs pawn. The poet collects those frogs pawns in jars and takes those to home and then to school.
The other activities in the flax-dam are also pictorially described. In school, when the poet takes those tadpoles in jars, he seems to call up a lesson by Miss Walls, his teacher. She informs her students how the male frog is called a bullfrog and how he attracts the female frog or mammy frog and she lays hundred of little eggs that become frogs pawns later.
The frogs pawns then become frogs that would be yellow in colour in the sun and brown in the rains. The second part of the poem however presents a different scenario. Here, we see the tadpoles have grown into full-grown frogs which also gives a hint of the time gap. Here, we see the loss of innocence of the poet who is now has grown bigger. One day, when the weather is hot and the fields are emitting the heavy smell of cow dung, the speaker sees the angry frogs that have already taken over the flax-dam.
The speaker “ducked through hedges” but the harsh croaking made him feel disgusted. Their appearance and activities “sickened” the speaker. It seems to him that they sit in dangerous positions, “poised like mud grenades” and the sound of their heads appeared to be like “farting.” The scenario makes the poet afraid and so he turns and run away.
He feels that if he dips his hand in the flax-dam now, then the tadpoles would clutch his hand and would not let go. In this way, his liking, turns into a disgust. Through this poem, the readers can witness the shift in the mindset of the speaker. The frog spawns which were once dear to him, have turned into his terror.
Death of Naturalist Poem Line Wise Explanation
“All year the flax-dam festered in the heart
Of the town land; 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 dragonflies, spotted butterflies,
But best of all was the warm thick slobber
Of frog spawn that grew like clotted water
In the shade of the banks”:
The speaker talks about the flax-dam where the flax rots, over a large area to soften its fibres, situated in the middle of a farm. The speaker visits this place as an innocent child and likes the environment there. Here, the description of the rotting flax, its smell, the scorching heat of the sun, the gargling of the bubbles, the sound of the blue bottles are well-depicted.
There are dragonflies and spotted butterflies too. In these lines, the poet has beautifully painted all these visual and auditory images that evoke sensuousness in the readers’ mind. In these lines, we can see the use of metaphors, personification and oxymoron. In these lines, we can also witness the mention of frog spawns that warm, thick slobber that grow like “clotted water in the shade of the banks.”
“Here, every spring
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
Here, the description becomes more specific. The poet talks about his activities in every spring when he would fill up his jars with frog spawns from the flax-dam and then takes them to his home and then in school. He just expresses his love for watching the activities of those tadpoles. In these lines, the innocent activities of a child are well- depicted.
“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
Frog spawn. You could tell the weather by frogs too
For they were yellow in the sun and brown in rain”.
Here, the speaker mentions his teacher, Miss Walls, who gave the outline of the life cycle of the frog to the class.lt becomes crystal clear that the boy Heaney was well impressed by all this. His enthusiasm is obvious – he could even get to know what the weather outlook would be from observing the adult frogs. Here, how the male frogs use their croaking to attract female frogs and then they lay hundreds of eggs is well-portrayed. The poet says that the frogs change colour with the change of the weather- they look 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 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” The change of tone occurs abruptly with the word ‘Then’. The first part of the poem expresses the innocence of a child whereas the second part expresses his destruction of childhood. This verse begins with a harsh monosyllabic
line: “Then one hot day when fields were rank/With cowdung…”. Both ‘rank’ and ‘dung’ sound cacophonous with harsh consonance. The word ‘dung’ is an Anglo-Saxon word for cow manure, used colloquially in Northern Ireland.
In these lines, the speaker describes the frogs as an army, coming back to seize what was theirs. This is indicated by the word ‘invaded’ and reinforced by words used to suggest battle: ‘cocked’, ‘poised’ and ‘grenades’. The words ‘coarse croaking’ sound abrasive and unpleasant, and they form a ‘bass chorus’. Again the proliferation of ‘o’ sounds combined with the harsh ‘c’ shows that this is eerie and grating on the child’s nerves.
Again he makes use of graphic visual imagery as we can almost feel the pulse in the toad’s neck in the simile Tike sails’. He continues to use language that a child would find entertaining, and it reads in part almost like a cartoon with the onomatopoeic ‘slap’ and ‘plop’, except where they are juxtaposed beside the words ‘obscene threat’. This should be a spectacle to a child, but is instead frightening because of the number of toads and their perceived indignation at the human intrusion.
Like in the first stanza, his use of run-on lines and caesura pauses seems to slow the verse down, as though the child is rooted to the spot, taking it all in. The hyperbole of the line the ‘great slime kings’ could sound humorous, but placed immediately after ‘I sickened, turned, and ran’ we feel the child’s terror. This is confirmed in the final lines when he states with certainty: ‘I knew/That if I dipped my hand the spawn would clutch it.’ Once more the line is sharp with monosyllabic words.
The whole poem could be seen as a metaphor for growing up, laden with imagery. We sense a child’s revulsion as he discovers the facts of life and his ensuing loss of innocence. He will never feel the same about the countryside after this encounter.
Death of Naturalist Poem Theme
Seamus Heaney’s one of the most celebrated poems, “Death of a Naturalist” talks about the innocence of the speaker’s childhood and his experience of becoming more aware of the life in the flax-dam. In the first part of the poem, we see the speaker reflects on his childhood habit of taking frog spawn from the flax-dam and reflects on how Miss Walls, presumably a teacher, taught the speaker and his classmates about frogs; though the speaker does not quote her, his language morphs to echo how she would speak to the children, referring to male and female frogs as “daddy” and “mammy” frogs.
In the second part of the poem, the speaker has a new experience in the flax-dam, and his perception of his own actions shifts. He now sees the frogs as “angry” who have “invaded” the flax-dam, where they are usually absent. They croak loudly and threateningly. The speaker feels sick and afraid, and he runs away from the scene. Through this poem, the poet makes us realize that the childhood do not last for eternity. Whenever a child starts to become mature, he or she loses his innocence and thus never feels the same.
Death of Naturalist Poem Word Meaning
Festered — If a cut or other injury festers, it becomes infected and produces pus
Weighted — Prepared and arranged in a way that is likely to produce a particular effect,usually an advantage, rather than any other
Sods — Something or someone considered unpleasant or difficult
Gargle — To move a liquid around in your throat without swallowing, especially to clean it or stop it feeling painful
Delicately — carefully, in order to avoid causing physical damage
Gauze — A very thin, light cloth, used to make clothing, to cover cuts and to separate solids from liquids, etc.
Dragonfly — A large insect with a long, thin, brightly coloured body and two pairs of transparent wings
Slobber — To allow saliva or food to run out of the mouth
Frogspawn — A close group of frog’s eggs, each egg being a small almost transparent ball with a black grain near its centre
Clotted — A thick mass of coagulated liquid,especially blood, or of material stuck together
Spring — The season of the year between winter and summer, lasting from March to June north of the equator, and from September to December south of the equator, when the weather becomes warmer, leaves and plants start to grow again and flower sappear
Nimble — Quick and exact either in movement or thoughts
Tadpole — A small, black creature with a large head and longtail that lives in water and develops into a frog or toad
Invaded — To enter a country by force with large numbers of soldiers in order to take possession of it
Coarse — Rough and not smooth or soft, or not in very small pieces.
Obscene — Offensive, rude, or shocking.
Grenades — A small bomb thrown by hand or shot from a gun
Slime — An unpleasantly thick and slippery liquid substance
Vengeance — The punishing of someone for harming you or your friends or family, or the wish for such punishment to happen
Spawn — The eggs of fish, frogs, etc
Clutch — To take or try to take hold of something tightly, usually in fear, worry, or pain
Ducked — To move your head or the top part of your body quickly down, especially to avoid being hit.
Hedges — A line of bushes or small trees planted very close together. especially along the edge of a garden, field, or road
Bass chorus — Low-toned sound of group song
Blue bottles — A big fly with a dark blue shiny body
Death of Naturalist Poem Critical Appreciation
The poem, “Death of a Naturalist” is one of the most celebrated poems of Seamus Heaney. Here, The first stanza describes the flax in the flax-dam, or a hole where the flax would be placed to ferment, creating raw material for linen. The language used in the first stanza suggests that the speaker is embellishing his memories, for his descriptions are vivid and visceral.
The first several lines lean heavily into images of fermenting matter. The speaker uses words such as “fester” and “rotting” to describe the scene; the flax-dam appears to seethe with life, but that life is generated by the flax’s decay. The first stanza also uses language to convey the speaker’s childlike mindset. The description of the “dragonflies, spotted butterflies,” and the “warm thick slobber” at the flax-dam all evoke a warm innocence, as does the description of Miss Walls’s lesson.
Toward the end of the first stanza, the speaker says, “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.” The breathlessness of this long sentence mimics the way a child would speak. Though the “I” does not appear until about halfway through the first stanza, the presence of a specific perspective is clearly implied by the specific location mentioned, as well as lines that indicate an opinion such as, “But best of all was the thick warm slobber…”
The second stanza is shorter and colder than the first; its length and tone parallel the speaker’s emergence into a more sombre and thoughtful phase of his life. The language used strips away the wonderment of the first stanza, leaving behind a less nostalgic, more cynical portrait of the flax- dam. Though the rotting flax is mentioned in the first stanza, it is quickly swallowed by beautiful images of the bubbling water, the insects and butterflies, and the hot sun. In this stanza, the speaker flatly says, “Then one hot day when fields were rank/With cowdung in the grass the angry frogs/ Invaded the flax-dam,” excluding the more alluring details.
In this stanza, the frogs are threatening to the speaker. He hears intent to harm in the “bass chorus” of their croaking and sees it in their movement. They disgust him as nothing so far in the poem has; he describes their bellies as “gross”, compares them to “mud grenades”, and describes the “farting” of their heads. He says of himself, “I sickened, turned, and ran.”
Yet it is not mere disgust that makes him flee. The inclusion of the lines about Miss Walls indicates that learning more about the frogs and the source of the frogspawn has influenced the speaker’s attitude. The final lines make this even clearer. The speaker says, “The great slime kings/Were gathered there for vengeance and I knew/ That if I dipped my hand the spawn would clutch it.”
By mentioning vengeance, the speaker shows that he relates this scene back to his prior actions of stealing the frogspawn. By specifically saying that the frogspawn would clutch his hand, instead of perhaps imagining how the grown frogs would attack him, the speaker shows that not only has his attitude toward the frogspawn changed, but he imagines its attitude toward him has changed as well; they have lost trust in one another. This indicates that for the speaker as a child, this moment is a distillation of his growing maturity; he has begun to understand that his actions have consequences, and that, however innocent his intentions, his actions can harm others.
Death of Naturalist Poem Style
This poem is constructed with two uneven stanzas that contain different messages. The longer stanza shows a child’s innocent mind, which eventually gets destroyed in the second stanza, where we see the child at the brim of becoming a matured person. In this poem we can witness the use of blank verse and unrhymed pentameter. The poet has used several figures of speeches like similes (“like clotted water” etc.), metaphors (“fattening dots” etc.), onomatopoeia, alliteration (“To a coarse croaking” etc.) and assonance to add richness to this poem.
Death of Naturalist Poem MCQs
Choose the correct alternative to complete the following sentences:
What does the speaker take from the flax-dam?
a. Several eggs of the frogs
b. A clump of rotting flax
c. Larvae of the dragonflies
What does the character Miss Walls do in the poem?
a. She describes the life of the frogs
b. She rescues the speaker from the bullfrogs
c. She punishes the speaker for bringing tadpoles to class
d. She pushes the speaker into the flax-dam
a. She describes the life of the frogs
Who or what invades the flax-dam?
a. The British army
b. The tadpoles
c. The frogs
d. The dragonflies
c. The frogs
Who are “the great slime kings?”
a. The frogs
b. The speaker and his friends
c. The speaker’s parents
d. The teachers at school
a. The frogs
What does “the thick warm slobber” refer to?
a. The saliva of the speaker’s childhood dog
b. The rotting flax
c. The frogspawns
d. None of these
c. The frogspawns
“Daily it sweltered in the ____ sun. What is the missing word?
Who is called a bullfrog?
a. A bull
b. A cat
d. The daddy frog
d. The daddy frog
Where does the speaker keep the frogspawns?
a. Under his bed
b. At school
e. At home
d. None of the above
d. None of the above
What does the speaker niake ampotfuls” or?
b. Clotted water
What is described as “growing…In the shade of the banks”?
a. The tadpoles
b. The flax
c. The frogspawns
d. The hedges
c. The frogspawns
In which year Seamus Heaney was born?
What happens at the end of the poem?
a. The speaker runs away from the flax-dam
b. The speaker dips his hand into the flax-darn, and it clutches him
c. The speaker returns the tadpoles to the flax-dam
d. The speaker is attacked by the frogs
a. The speaker runs away from the flax-dam
How does the speaker feel at the end of the poem?
a. Apprehensive and curious
b. Ecstatic and invigorated
c. Disgusted and afraid
d. Shaken and exhausted
c. Disgusted and afraid
What produces the “bass chorus” that the speaker mentions?
a. The frogspawns
b. The bullfrogs
c. The dragonflies
b. The bullfrogs
In which year Seamus Heaney got Nobel Prize?
In which year was Seamus Heaney died?