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Father Roles Heaney Essay

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Father Roles Heaney

Father Roles

There are many factors that will shape a young boy’s life, but possibly none more important than the role of that boy’s father. Seamus Heaney and Theodore Roethke both have shown the importance of the father role in their poems “Digging” and “My Papas Waltz.” Although the roles of the fathers in these poems were different, the respect and admiration shown by their sons is one in the same. Weather it is Heaney’s father digging under his window, or Roehtke’s father dancing him around as a little boy, the love shown in these two poems, shows a direct relation on the lives they shared with their fathers.

Heaney’s poem, “Digging” showed that while the boy still loved his father, he did not wish to carry on the tradition of potato digging that had been in his family for generations. For example, Heaney wrote that he had “no spade to follow men like them”(Spence par 1). This quote states that Heaney, although loving his father, did not think he could carry on the tradition. Heaney remembers the way he would bring his grandfather a glass of milk, and would drink the entire bottle, and then would watch his grandfather fall to work once again. This brings about the fact that while still caring a great deal for his father and grandfather, he still would prefer the path of a writer (Glover 542). Ultimately, Heaney chose not to “follow men like them”, and chose instead on becoming a writer. This is backed up later in the poem when Heaney writes “Between my finger and my thumb/The squat pen rests/I’ll dig with it.” Heaney had always watched his father from the upstairs window while he dug, and Heaney would watch and write, and this fanned the fire for Heaney’s desire to become a writer (Pellegrio pa...


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...and Theodore Roehtke both had fathers who were hard working, involved men, but both having taken the time to show their sons the attention and love that they deserved. The impact that the fathers played in these poets lives will always be remembered in the poems “Digging” and “My Papas Waltz.”

Between the lines of these two poems, you can see the importance that Seamus Heaney, and Theodore Roehtke’s fathers played in their sons lives, by showing them love, and compassion, no matter what hey had chosen to do. Weather it was simply bringing his dad a glass of milk, or dancing around the kitchen without ever wanting to let go, the role of father is one of the biggest roles a man can ever accept. “Digging” and My Papas Waltz” are two great examples of how much difference a father makes if he shows warmth, love, compassion, and possibly most important, understanding.


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