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Blackberry Picking Essay Plan Sample

Seamus Heaney's Blackberry-Picking and Death of a Naturalist Essay

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Seamus Heaney's Blackberry-Picking and Death of a Naturalist

Blackberry Picking gives a lucid description of basically, picking blackberries. However it is really about hope and disappointment and how things never quite live up to expectations. ‘Blackberry picking’ becomes a metaphor for other experiences such as the lack of optimism already being realised at an early age and the sense of naivety looked upon from an adult analysing his childhood; “Each year I hoped they’d keep, knew they would not”, consequently a sense of regret. Death of A Naturalist is similar to Blackberry Picking in its subject and structure. Here, too Heaney explains a change in his attitude to the natural world, in a…show more content…

The tripling used suggests the lexis is one of confusion and passion; “Sent us out with milk-cans, pea-tins, jam-pots”. Likewise to Blackberry Picking, Death of A Naturalist also has a fairly simple structure. In the first section, Heaney describes how the frogs would spawn in the lint hole, with a digression into him collecting the spawn, and how his teacher encouraged his childish interest in the process. The poem’s title is amusingly ironic – by a ‘naturalist’, we would normally mean someone with expert scientific knowledge of living things and ecology. The young Heaney certainly was beginning to know nature from direct observation – but this incident cut short the possible scientific career before it had ever begun. Also by ‘death of a naturalist’ he does not wish to be a part of this life. The poet notes the festering in the flax-dam, but can cope with this familiar lexis of things rotting and spawn hatching. Perhaps, as an inquisitive child he felt some pride in not being squeamish – he thinks of the bubbles form the process as gargling ‘delicately’. There is a nostalgic feeling as he continues to take his childhood for granted. He has an almost scientific interest in knowing the proper names “bullfrog” and “frogspawn” rather than the teacher’s patronizing talk of “mummy” and “daddy”, this development is

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Summary: Seamus Heaney's apparently literal descriptions in his poem "Blackberry-Picking" express a deeper meaning in his experiences. Heaney's use of metaphor, poetic form, and rhyme in this poem make it not just an account of picking blackberries, but a deeper expression for the author's experiences of yearning, insatiability, and grief.


Seamus Heaney's poem "Blackberry-Picking" conveys the nature of a blackberry harvest, albeit with language that is physically intensive. The poet's expression suggests that the passage hides multi-layered meanings; besides plainly describing how to pick berries, the poem symbolizes burning desire for and devastating disappointment in experiences that end up not quite living up to our expectations. In order to portray not only a literal description of picking blackberries but also a deeper understanding of his experiences, Heaney pays attention to figurative language, rhythmic form, and rhyme in his poem.

By using figures of speech in "Blackberry-Picking," Heaney suggests that he does not understand merely the process of picking blackberries but also the meaningful aspects of what he describes. Heaney metaphorically depicts each blackberry as "a glossy purple clot" when he first encounters it. Because this vividly hued cluster is conspicuous among immature berries that are "hard as a...

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This section contains 1,235 words
(approx. 5 pages at 300 words per page)

View a FREE sample

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