Much of Heaney's Anthology ‘Death of a Naturalist’ Is Concerned with Growing Up. How Is This Idea Presented and Developed in ‘the Early Purges’ and ‘Mid Term Break’.

Growing up is never easy. Its the time that shapes our lives, when we form the fundamental opinions that make us who we are, and Heaney being no exception. Through his somewhat heartfelt poetry, he opens up about life and its challenges, writing with a refreshing innocence different to any other poet. He writes his poetry with sincerity, despite ‘the early purges’ being concluded with an unconvincing brusque statement: “pests have to be kept down”. This is Heany's way of dealing with life’s obstacles; to dismiss the issue and target it with a realistic attitude.  
In ‘The Early Purges, the poems recalls the first time Heaney, as a young boy witnessed ‘Dan Taggart’ the farmhand killing kittens. It shows how we lose innocence, and how events caused Heaney himself to naively enter an unpleasant world. As we progress through the poem Heaney almost takes on the persona of Dan himself, referring to the kittens as “bloody pups” – cursing just as Dan had earlier “scraggy wee shits”. We see Heaney attempting to persuade himself that the incident is justifiable;
“Sure isn’t it better for them now?”
However its clear that he isn’t convinced, and that he does in fact feel compassion for the killing of the kittens, although he’s forced to put on a hard exterior and grow up. This idea is also shown to us in ‘Mid term break’ where we are shown Heaney's views towards the unexpected death of his brother and how he and others reacted to the tragedy. A significant part of the poem is Heaney telling us about the distress of his father and his distraught, along with ‘Big Jim’ who makes a metaphorical reference by saying his brothers death was ‘a hard blow.
The isolation that Heaney seemed to experience (Coming from a farming background – yet being an erudite boy, and going away to school) would definitely cast a lot of independence on Seamus from a young age and therefore having to grow up quickly. The poem recalls how Heaney was ‘embarrassed’ by old men standing up to shake his...