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After reading the two poems Digging and Follower, discuss the relationship that Heaney writes about between himself and his father.

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Introduction

Seamus Heaney After reading the two poems Digging and Follower, discuss the relationship that Heaney writes about between himself and his father. I am going to compare two different poems written by Seamus Heaney. The names of these two poems are "Digging" and "Follower". Both of these poems were written when Seamus Heaney had started his career in poetry. Heaney was the eldest of nine children and grew up in poor conditions, as his father was a potato farmer, just as his forefathers. The poems are basically Heaney's autobiography, where he is explaining what happened in his past. Heaney was born when there were Catholic and Protestant riots were occurring and it was a troubled time for him and his family. The two poems are similar because they both describe Heaney at a young age, when he used to be "tripping, falling, yapping always". This was meant to prove that Heaney was always behind his father, but the second poem has a real twist to it at the end, which I will describe to you further in to this essay. Heaney is probably writing this poem in his room, and looking out into his old farm which is bringing back his memories of being a child. His room would be dimly lit to show the bluntness in his vocabulary. This also depicts that fact that his language is not flowery, or there is no glorification of any part of his father's job, but just going straight to the point. ...read more.

Middle

Heaney believes the pen will give him that extra power but never that hardness and toughness that his forefathers had from their profession. I think that Heaney loves and respects his forefathers due to the amount of respect that he has given them in this poem. "By God the old man could handle a spade, Just like his old man". This tells us that he admires his forefathers unbelievably, and that he is proud of them. I think that Heaney is not a bit monotonous, because each time he marvels at his forefathers, he is giving us something original, something new and interesting. He does say that he wanted to grow up and follow in his father's footsteps, "I wanted to grow up and plough... All I ever did was follow". This shows us that he did want to be a farmer just like his forefathers, but he felt he lacked the physical strength, but he had the mental strength of being a writer. This explains that Heaney always wanted to be a farmer, but he felt he lacked the individuality that he needed and the confidence when he was a child, and he now feels a bit guilty not carrying on the family tradition. I think that Heaney felt inadequate and lost as a child and felt he lacked the attention that a child needed. That is why he felt he lacked the power of being a potato farmer, and that he would rather have had a stronger childhood to be a farmer, not a feeble and astray one as he has experienced. ...read more.

Conclusion

Overall, I find "Digging more effective than "Follower". This is because the first poem is more emotional and he is comparing himself to his father more, and this reflects how he felt as a child. The second poem, "Follower", is more technical, and readers prefer poems that are more emotional and describing, not technical and too straight to the point. I think that Heaney is very fond of his past and would like to re-live it; we can extrapolate this from the poems we have read. Both poems reveal that Heaney can remember his past very vividly and that he is a very good writer. He also considered himself as a 'lesser being' most of the tie, "I was a nuisance" etc. He considered himself to not be as complex of a character of a being but a very simple person indeed. He was very humble in the way he wrote, not bragging on about himself, but showing the great admiration for his forefathers. I think that Heaney did not have a very simple relationship with his father. That was because there was not a lot of conversation between the two characters. Heaney was mainly seen and not heard in the poem, and his thoughts were mainly kept to himself as his father was too busy. The only part which I took into consideration was the change of roles at the end of "Follower". That really showed that Heaney had a bit of a relationship with his father. Dead or not, he still remembers him and his memories will remain with Heaney forever. Chetak Barot 10A English Essay ...read more.

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