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Choose two or more poems by Seamus Heaney. Write an informed and personal response to these poems in which you compare their subject matter and its awareness of the poet's use of language and poetic devices. Refer to the poems to support your viewpoints!

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Introduction

Choose two or more poems by Seamus Heaney. Write an informed and personal response to these poems in which you compare their subject matter and its awareness of the poet's use of language and poetic devices. Refer to the poems to support your viewpoints! I have chosen to compare and contrast "Follower" and "Digging" by the poet Seamus Heaney, a local man from the town of Bellaghy in County Derry. I selectively chose these two poems for they are very visual and are both related to each other. The poem "Follower" consists of six quatrains with regular versification and an alternate rhyme scheme which creates a very solid structure. It is about Seamus Heaney as a young boy and about his relationship with him and his father. "My father worked with a horse-plough" is the introductory line of the first stanza of the poem, "Follower." This simple opening line portrays what the poem is about - Seamus Heaney's father. This line is immediately clear and is therefore straightforward. The use of the title "My Father...." suggests the poet is proud of his father and this formal title reflects the son's admiration. ...read more.

Middle

The second Heaney poem which I will use as a comparison his is poem, 'Digging'. Unlike 'follower' this poem has a more irregular versification with nine verses of various length. Rhyme is only used at the start of the poem. Like the previous poem this poem also deals with Heaney's father yet goes further into his paternal ancestry. This emphasises the importance the family and background to the poet and this is also typical of most Irish families. Again Heaney uses the imagery of farm life to express his feelings. The poem opens with a rhyming couplet, "Between ...gum" This immediately lets us into the issue or thoughts behind this entire poem. The young Heaney is breaking away from family traditions and choosing to be writer. The simile 'snug as a gun' is ambiguous. It could mean that H is comfortable with his chosen path in life, as comfortable as his forefathers with guns and spades, the tools of farm life. Or it could mean that he is not comfortable, who could be 'snug' with a gun? The decision to become a poet was perhaps not an easy choice for a young boy from a farming background in Bellaghy. Like 'Follower' this poet is full of visual and audio imagery. ...read more.

Conclusion

He shows this through the link to the opening verse, the repetition of the first line, "between my finger....rests" emphasises that a cycle has taken place, something changed. "I'll dig with it" is a direct line to the title and the theme of this entire poem. The misuse of the verb 'dig' is clever as it helps to highlight the fact that H has broken away, he is going to be a poet, this will be job. The most obvious link between these 2 poems f and d is the huge respect that H has for the work of his fathers, the simple tradition of farm life. The use of simple diction and local dialect helps to portray this yet the figurative language used to describe the skill of farm work makes it sound like work to be proud of. In both poems H deals with personal issues and is very honest about hard life is. Yet he is strong and stands by his choices in life. H also effectively uses his childhood memories in both poems to help paint nostalgic pictures of his past. Someone like H could almost be forgiven for forgetting the simple background from which he came from, yet in these poems it is obvious that he is proud of his humble beginnings. Page 1 ...read more.

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