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Comparing Digging and Follower by Seamus Heaney Essay

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Examine two poems, Digging and Follower by Seamus Heaney and then compare
the poems, explaining both their differences and similarities.

The first poem I am going to examine is "digging" by Seamus Heaney. I
will first comment on the title of the poem. "Digging" has both a
metaphorical and literal meaning to it. The literal meaning is that
his father and his grandfather are farmers. The poem talks about the
men "Digging" and working, so this explains the literal meaning of the
poem. The metaphorical meaning is that Seamus Heaney is "Digging" into
his past and back round, which is farming. So, the title is rather
effective. Now I will examine the rest of the poem.

Firstly, I will look at, and comment on, the first stanza. In this
verse, Seamus Heaney is not doing anything. It seems as if he is
waiting for inspiration. In the second line, there is a strange
simile; "The squat pen rests; snug as a gun". This is strange because
"snug" is a comfortable word which suggests he is comfortable with his
writing, but gun is a powerful and dangerous word. This could mean
that his pen could be powerful (and it is; it ends up being his
career). The word "squat" makes it seem as if he is eager to write and
as if the pen is poised; ready to spring. The word "rests" then
reinforces the belief that he is comfortable with his writing.

Secondly, I will study the second stanza. Onomatopoeia is used at the
end of the first line. "A clean rasping sound" is said. This is also
aural imagery. The word "digging" is repeated at the end of this
stanza with the literal meaning.

I will now look at the third stanza. Seamus Heaney is now thinking
back 20 years. I can tell this as it says "comes up twenty years
away". He is thinki...


... middle of paper ...


...he poem. The poem is about how great his father is, and
then ends bluntly; by saying Heaney is a nuisance. I found it
unexpected. I think that it may mean that his back round wont go away
and he feeds his writing by his past. It could also mean that his
father is now old and feeble. Whichever this may be, it is a very
ironic ending. The pessimistic ending is much unlike that of
"Digging", which ended optimistically.

I found this poem hard to understand at first, but then I looked
between the lines, and, like "Digging", I found it really interesting
and deep/meaningful. I rather digging though, I found it a more
interesting and optimistic poem. Though, I did really like the last
stanza of "Follower"; I found it very effective. But I also did with
"Digging". Overall, I enjoyed both poems thoroughly and would like to
look at more of Seamus Heaney's work.


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