New
New
Year 11
Eduqas

Analysing 'Death of a Naturalist'

I can analyse how Heaney presents the power of nature in the poem.

New
New
Year 11
Eduqas

Analysing 'Death of a Naturalist'

I can analyse how Heaney presents the power of nature in the poem.

Lesson details

Key learning points

  1. Throughout the poem, Heaney uses multi-sensory descriptions to create vivid imagery.
  2. Heaney creates a grotesque description of the flax-dam, perhaps to foreshadow its capability to be threatening.
  3. Heaney uses onomatopoeia in the poem to convey the speaker's enthusiasm for, and then later fear of, nature.
  4. Heaney presents the power of nature by portraying the frogs as an army through the use of a semantic field.
  5. Heaney perhaps aimed to show man's insignificance vs nature and discourage us from interfering in natural processes.

Common misconception

When analysing this poem, students might not use terminology as well as they could.

Heaney uses a lot of onomatopoeia in his descriptions within this poem, as well as semantic fields and figurative language.

Keywords

  • Imagery - the use of words or figurative language to create vivid pictures

  • Vulgar - rude, offensive or indecent

  • Multi-sensory - when something appeals to more than one sense at the same time

A good starter activity could be to take words from the poem and ask students to sort them into different senses, so that they can see how Heaney plays with multi-sensory language to create his descriptions.
Teacher tip

Equipment

A copy of the Eduqas poetry anthology is required for this lesson.

Content guidance

  • Contains subject matter which individuals may find upsetting.

Supervision

Adult supervision suggested.

Licence

This content is © Oak National Academy Limited (2024), licensed on Open Government Licence version 3.0 except where otherwise stated. See Oak's terms & conditions (Collection 2).

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6 Questions

Q1.
Who wrote the poem 'Death of a Naturalist'?
Wilfred Owen
Imtiaz Dharker
Correct answer: Seamus Heaney
Philip Larkin
Ted Hughes
Q2.
Starting with the first, put the events from 'Death of a Naturalist' in chronological order.
1 - The speaker describes the flax-dam.
2 - The speaker describes the wildlife at the flax-dam.
3 - The speaker describes their fascination with frogspawn.
4 - The speaker recalls how their teacher taught them about the wonder of creation.
5 - The speaker returns to the flax-dam to find it full of adult frogs.
6 - The speaker is appalled and horrified by the adult frogs and runs away.
Q3.
Which poem from the following in the Eduqas anthology explores the 'Sublime'?
'As Imerceptibly as Grief'
'Afternoons'
'To Autumn'
Correct answer: 'The Prelude'
Q4.
What is imagery?
a figure of speech that involves comparing two things using the verb 'to be'
intentionally repeating words, lines or stanzas
Correct answer: the use of words or figurative language to create vivid pictures
attribution of human characteristics to non-human things
Q5.
What is alliteration?
Correct answer: the repetition of sounds at the start of close together words
the repetition of vowel sounds in words across stanzas in a poem
a figure of speech that involves comparing two things using the verb 'to be'
a pause or a break in a line of verse, often marked by punctuation
Q6.
What is enjambment?
exaggeration or exaggerated statements, not meant to be taken literally
Correct answer: the continuation of a sentence beyond the end of a line, stanza or couplet
a pause or a break in a line of verse, often marked by puntuation
the use of words or figurative language to create vivid pictures

6 Questions

Q1.
Which of the following is an example of onomatopoeia?
Correct answer: plop
sweet
Correct answer: crash
funny
Q2.
What is a semantic field?
a pause or a break in a line of verse, often marked by punctuation
words that imitate the natural sound associated with their meaning
comparing two things in order to show the difference between them
Correct answer: a set of words grouped by a common theme/meaning
Q3.
Which of the following words from 'Death of a Naturalist' show the speaker's disgust with the adult frogs?
"gathered"
Correct answer: "obscene"
Correct answer: "plop"
"poised"
"dipped"
Q4.
What regal noun does Heaney use to refer to the adult frogs in 'Death of a Naturalist'?
Correct Answer: kings, king
Q5.
Here is some analysis. Which word from 'Death of a Naturalist' could this analysis be attached to? 'The noise of the frogs has become an offensive sound for the speaker - he finds it ugly and vulgar.'
"poised"
"sickened"
"vengeance"
"pulsed"
Correct answer: "farting"
Q6.
Which of the following might explain why Heaney wanted to portray the power of nature in 'Death of a Naturalist'?
to show the beauty and tranquility of nature that he had always enjoyed
Correct answer: to show that if mankind interferes in nature, it may become dangerous
Correct answer: to show man's insignificance versus the magnitude of nature
to show his hope that man and nature will co-exist peacefully together