Digging Essay By Seamus Heaney Follower

Heaney's "Digging " And "Follower" Essay

Seamus Heaney "digging" and "follower".A commentary.

In the poem entitled "Digging", Seamus Heaney sensuously chronicles the cultivated art of Irish potato digging. His father mastered the art; he was the Rembrandt of digging. The reader can hear the sound of the spade as it pierces the earth with "a clean rasping sound." (Heaney 161) The sound of the spade is felt as well as heard. Heaney firmly places the reader's foot on the spade when he writes, "The coarse boot nestled on the lug, the shaft Against the inside knee was levered firmly." (p 161) Not only is the art of digging invigorating, but also we learn it is emotionally satisfying when Heaney says, "Loving their cool hardness in our hands." (p 161)

If Heaney's father was the Rembrandt of digging then his grandfather was surely the Michelangelo. Once again the reader is treated to a wonderful, sensuous set of lines:

Once I carried him milk in a bottle

Corked sloppily with paper. He straighten up

To drink it, then fell to right away." (Heaney 162)

The "mould", the "squelch" and "slap" of "soggy peat" are all words that take the reader into the Irish potato field with the striking sparseness only a good poet can command. (Heaney 162)

All this expressive use of the language is not the main purpose of Heaney's poem. The more personal message he is attempting to convey is contained in the first and last stanzas. Heaney begins by saying, "Between my fingers and my thumb The squat pen rests; snug as a gun." He ends with the same two lines and adds, "I'll dig with it." Heaney's profession as a writer may be different from his father and grandfather, but the dedication and love he feels toward that profession makes Heaney the next generation in a long line of hardy men who make a living "Digging."

In "Follower", Heaney uses words such as "globed" and "strained". These are words which show that life in the country is difficult and that the work involved can be strenuous. They do however, produce good images about the country, because "globed like a full sail strung" conjures up many ideas of the hard work involved in life on the farm, and "strained at his clicking tongue" not only shows the difficult job of the horses, but through the effective image produced, it shows the reader how skilled Heaney's father is.

Other words which show the skill involved in country life include "expert", "without breaking" and "exactly". These all show the reader what an accomplished farmer Heaney's father is, but they also have another use. They show us what country life is like, as mentioned previously, by illustrating how much skill goes into a seemingly mundane task such as ploughing a field, but they also produce...

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In the two poems, follower and Digging Seamus Heaney paints vivid,

1269 Words6 Pages

In the two poems, follower and Digging Seamus Heaney paints vivid, sensuous descriptions of his childhood memories of rural, Irish life.
His language is often onomatopoeic as he describes the

Comparing the poems the Follower and Digging

In the two poems, follower and Digging Seamus Heaney paints vivid, sensuous descriptions of his childhood memories of rural, Irish life.
His language is often onomatopoeic as he describes the “The Horses strained at his clicking tongue” from the Follower and “the squelch and slap of soggy peat” In the poem Digging. In this essay I will be comparing the two poems Follower and Digging, which are both written by Seamus Heaney, hopefully this will reveal certain styles of writing the poet…show more content…

A sailor's job is to navigate the deep seas, but navigation is needed with the help of a map. The sailor takes a close eye of the map to check if the boats path is headed in a straight direction. Seamus Heaney's father makes sure that all the furrows will be placed correctly in the right track.
So he represents his father as a sailor on his ship, this is his interpretation/metaphor. Seamus Heaney. However does not interpret his father in Digging. He simply describes the scene he is seeing through his window inside “Under my window, a clean rasping sound”. So in the two poems he has used different styles of portraying the scene, in
Follower he uses subtle hints of metaphors such as “mapping the furrow exactly”, which describes him as a sailor which is referring back to
“his shoulders globed as a full sail strung”. Where as in Digging he is mainly concerned with the alienation felt and the need to negotiate the distance between his family and the present circumstances.

However in the poem digging he does use some metaphors - The poem had opened on the lines, 'Between my finger and my thumb, The squat pen rests; snug as a gun', and now concludes repeating the lines, except replacing the last section with 'I'll dig with it'. The opening suggests through the simile of the gun that his writing may venture into the outside problems of the world using his words as a weapon, but the shift

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