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What is the importance of the land in twentieth century Irish poetry?

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Introduction

What is the importance of the land in twentieth century Irish poetry? The Irish people value the land, because ever since the Normans invaded they have never had a united Ireland. A part of it has always been ruled by a foreigner they feel very possessive about the land they own even matter if it is only a few acres. The three poets I am going to study are Kavanagh, Kinsella and Heaney. They all have a link to each other, soil. They each have their own main theme, Kavanagh chooses a biblical theme, The Bog lands for Heaney and Ireland's destruction is Kinsella's theme. In 'Digging' by Heaney the three characters that are mentioned are his grandfather, father and himself. Heaney sees the land as a symbolic, metaphoric reference to Ireland. ...read more.

Middle

"I stumbled in his hobnailed wake" He shows his father as a very skilled farmer, "The sod rolled over without breaking." This is very hard to do and takes years of experience to manage to do. There are many nautical references in the poem such as "his shoulders globed like a full sail strung" In these images it shows his father not as a simpleton farmer but like a highly skilled sailor. Again he shows remorse as in 'Digging' that he will never own the farm and work the land "All I ever did was follow in his broad shadow around the farm" The Poem entitled 'Punishment' is about a bog woman who was found in swamps in Holland. Heaney sees the land as preserving history because the woman is completely perfect apart from a few breaks like the collapsing of the rib cage. ...read more.

Conclusion

Where as Kavanagh is almost angry at the land "Or why do we stand here shivering?" this is a reference to the Great Hunger, he is asking the land what have they done to deserve such a punishment. He shows that the land influences his poetry in the line "Is there some imagination in these wet clods?" asking the soil if it can help him. Kinsella wrote the poem 'Leaf Eater' to portray that Ireland cannot live without destroying it self. "Gropes back on itself and begins to eat its own leaf." Because as everyone knows if it does not eat the leaf it will die but, if it eats the leaf the grub will fall and plunge to its death. I think these poems are very effective in conveying their feeling and passion for the land they all share. Each poet shows how it is very important for their survival but the land must be preserved and looked after if it is to sustain the population. ...read more.

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