• Level: GCSE
  • Subject: English
  • Document length: 618 words

Analysis of Poem 'Digging'

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Analysis of the Poem 'Digging' The famous Seamus Heaney has yet again impressed us with his many meaningful and skillful poems. After having written the poem "Follower", which describes his childhood dream, he had written up "Digging", which explains the events that followed after. Digging is a metaphor for the work Heaney had done. When he was young, he was inspired to become a laborer like his father and grandfather, but then, things changed and he eventually became a writer. The last stanza: "Between my finger and my thumb the squat pen rests. I'll dig with it," shows that he would still continue his father and grandfather's tradition of skill and hard work by using a different kind of tool - a pen. ...read more.

Middle

He straightened up to drink it, then fell to right away nicking and slicing neatly, heaving sods over his shoulder, digging down and down for the good turf. Digging," the poet's grandfather is a hard worker, for he would even barely stop to drink. This, thus, made the young Heaney feel proud and admiration for his grandfather's accomplishments. The theme of the poem is likely to be admiration for the labor and skills of the author's father and grandfather. It can be seen in the lines: "By God, the old man could handle a spade, just like his old man," that his father is just as good as his grandfather in handling a spade to do digging and those physical labors. ...read more.

Conclusion

The structure he uses for the poem is an enjambment and a bit of rhyming. By using enjambment, the poem becomes narrative-like, the text appears to be transforming into spoken words, and that it is actually talking to the readers. By doing this, it seems like the author is narrating his own experience directly to the readers that is why, it appeals to them, for they can relate to the author. Although Heaney wasn't able to achieve his previous dream of becoming a laborer, he was still able to get a decent living - being a writer, for having touched the hearts of the people by sharing his experiences with the use of the different kinds of faithful words that are waiting to be put into texts for people to read. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Other Poets section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Here's what a star student thought of this essay

3 star(s)

Response to the question

This question asks candidates to analyse the effect of Seamus Heaney's poem 'Digging'. With regards to Response to the Question, the candidate here retained sufficient focus on the question and explored the poem's message, it's legacy, it's effect on the ...

Read full review

Response to the question

This question asks candidates to analyse the effect of Seamus Heaney's poem 'Digging'. With regards to Response to the Question, the candidate here retained sufficient focus on the question and explored the poem's message, it's legacy, it's effect on the reader, and the authorial intentions, if only briefly. To strengthen the answer, the candidate should have made sure to comment on the imagery the poem conjures up, as well as avoided veering in a writing style expected of maybe a review ("The famous Seamus Heaney has yet again impressed us with his many meaningful and skilful poems") - comments like these are not addressing the question and garner absolutely no marks. The question does not ask for a personal response of a biography, so no marks are awarded for this.

Level of analysis

The Level of Analysis here is fair, though quite a bit of what is written is fairly obvious when one reads the poem, even if for the first time. The candidate did well to correctly identify the message of the poem, but lacks any evidence that they have the ability to look much farther than what appears literal or "on the page", and this lead the candidate to run the risk of commenting too much on the feelings of Heaney within the poem, rather than commenting on the effect on the reader. They did comment on however, the feeling of pride felt by the three men in the poem, though neglects to mention that Heaney, for a very brief moment in the penultimate stanza ("I've no spade to follow men like them") feels a melancholy in that he was not able to find happiness in following in their occupational footsteps, as it were. TO ignore this line and generalise the emotions felt in earlier stanzas will lose candidates marks because they are not approaching their response with sensitive detail.

Another thing missing from this answer are the themes of rebellion against tradition. This contextual analysis would've almost automatically guaranteed the candidate no lower than a B grade because it shows an ability to think outside the poems in terms of words on a page. To lift the words off the page is a highly-valuable skill that examiners look for because it shows insight. A good example would be if they candidate had noted that, when Heaney was younger, it was considered the norm to follow in your father's occupational footsteps, but because of changing times, Heaney's rebellion against that and his desire to make a living from writing, whilst also reassuring the readers it's just as valid an occupation (the final line: "I'll dig with it") as labour, could be generalised towards sons breaking away from what is expected by their fathers in terms of continuing the legacy of the family, etc.

Comments on structure are entirely valid, providing fair insight in recognising that enjambment (run-on lines) give the poem the structure and rhythm of a narrative piece of prose, but to say "with a bit of rhyming" will win no marks as there is no commentary in the effect of rhyming. It may well have been just as good to not mention it all if the candidate could not find a reason for mentioning it, because as it stands, it's feature spotting, which should be avoided at all time when writing essays. This is because feature spotting does not give any exploration of the effect and by definition cannot answer any exam question if it is only identification of poetic devices e.g. - "Here the poet has used this, and there he has used that, etc., etc.".

Quality of writing

The Quality of Written Communication is sound. Very infrequently is there any misuse of language and the candidate displays an adept use of complex punctuation and sentence structures. With very few grammatical errors, the candidate excels by making their points very clear, but it's just shame that no great point is ever made.


Did you find this review helpful? Join our team of reviewers and help other students learn

Reviewed by sydneyhopcroft 15/02/2012

Read less
Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Other Poets essays

  1. I will be comparing The hunchback in the park and The clown punk and ...

    Animals are usually kept isolated from one another and are therefore seen as isolated form each other.

  2. How Successfully The Writer Of An Unknown Girl Presents Her Feelings About The Countries ...

    Feelings of loss are another recurrent theme relating to the loss of tradition from western onslaught, the loss of contact between the poet and the âunknown girlâ, and indeed, the loss of the henna as it slowly fades. An example of this loss in tradition is the way in which

  1. Poetry English language

    we realised that it wasn't designed to be a poem but it was a speech extracted from a play called Henry V. The speech was written in 1599, but the actual event took place in 1415, it wasn't exactly a War, but a battle known as the battle of Agincourt.

  2. Compare & Contrast The Presentation Of The Child In William Blake(TM)s Poems The Chimney- ...

    telling the reader how innocent the little boys is and all of the innocence is being shaven off him. Stanza 3 shows dark and sad moods for all the chimney sweepers `were all of them locked up in coffins of black`.

  1. Compare My Grandmother and Long Distance - Best Words

    The lack of family for Jennings' grandmother led to her obsession with the antique shop. She would watch "her own reflection in the brass" which shows that she was used to keeping the shop clean, and most of her time was spent looking after the shop.

  2. The Mother by George Mackay Brown although a fairly short poem manages to in ...

    This mystery helps keep the poem interesting and makes the mother seem more mysterious as well. Although the word choice is important in every poem there would be nothing captivating about them if they weren't integrated into a number of compelling similes, metaphors and other figures of speech.

  1. English Coursework - Diverse Cultures

    From chapter 1 we also learn that the men who work on the ranches are 'the loneliest guys in the world.' They have no family, the men had to leave them behind in search of work, they have no home to go to.

  2. Comparing Poems from different cultures

    is how he felt at his home, the sea waves were like a womb, on his island, he was safe, and happy, however, because of greed he left this "womb," and now regrets it, he feels vulnerable, which again, I think may be the poet relating to the theme of loneliness.

  • Over 180,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work

Marked by a teacher

This essay has been marked by one of our great teachers. You can read the full teachers notes when you download the essay.

Peer reviewed

This essay has been reviewed by one of our specialist student essay reviewing squad. Read the full review on the essay page.

Peer reviewed

This essay has been reviewed by one of our specialist student essay reviewing squad. Read the full review under the essay preview on this page.