Degree Name

MA (Master of Arts)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Thomas Alan Holmes

Committee Members

Jesse Graves, Scott Honeycutt


Both New England’s Robert Frost and Northern Ireland’s Seamus Heaney are considered major poets of the 20th century. Both poets present speakers who rely upon rural settings to explore troublesome feelings and difficult experiences. Their speakers project their human experience onto nature, but because nature is indifferent, they cannot find solutions for their personal discomfort and uncertainties. By examining the writers in this order—Ralph Waldo Emerson, Mary Oliver, Seamus Heaney, and Robert Frost—a spectrum concerning the poet and their relationship to nature emerges. By considering John Ruskin’s pathetic fallacy, we will see a movement from irrationality in transcendental depictions, to empirical depictions that rely upon naturalist themes. By considering naturalist depictions as empirically responsible, I will evaluate each authors’ use of personification when describing their environment. While transcendental depictions offer a more soothing outcome for the speaker, Heaney’s and Frost’s depictions do not reflect a sense of relief.

Document Type

Thesis - embargo


Copyright by the authors.

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