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Heaney's poems explore by varied poetic means the enduring significance of family and childhood in human life. Discuss.

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  • Essay length: 1755 words
  • Submitted: 20/08/2003
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AS and A Level Seamus Heaney

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Heaney's poems explore by varied poetic means the enduring significance of family and childhood in human life. Discuss.

Much of Heaney's poetry, particularly from his early selections, explores childhood and family. Heaney perhaps uses these themes as a means of discovering his true self by travelling back to his roots. His childhood experiences have certainly had a deep impact and acted as inspiration for many of the poems from his first book, 'Death of a Naturalist', but there are also poems in later books that explore this theme. Aside from giving us an insight into Heaney's early life, his exploration of childhood and family also reflects the rural Irish culture at the time and the political situation in Ireland. The poet also explores the themes of childhood and family through the use of various poetic devices, including vivid imagery and structure.

The first poem that I have decided to examine is 'Digging' from Heaney's first collection, 'Death of a Naturalist'. This poem focuses on the poet's father and grandfather, and his admiration for their digging skills. It also shows the great contrast between father and son, in that Heaney has "no spade to follow men like them";

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