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  • Level: GCSE
  • Subject: English
  • Document length: 2417 words

Compare And Contrast Seamus Heaney's Poems 'Digging' And 'Follower'.

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Introduction

Compare And Contrast Seamus Heaney's Poems 'Digging' And 'Follower' Seamus Heaney's poems, 'Digging' and 'Follower' portray to us the strong relationship between the father and son, as Heaney tends to look up to the elders in his family. Both poems create that pastoral atmosphere with the title, 'Digging' suggests delving into the past. 'Follower' on the other hand gives us an image of the child's view of farming. The poems suggest Heaney's father is skilled at manual labour, and therefore someone to be looked up to. The poem 'Follower' illustrates the strength and skill, possessed by Heaney's father. The poem 'Digging' suggests the immense skill needed to master working in the countryside. The rhythm in 'Digging' tends to match the digging of the spade; where as in 'Follower' it tends to match the size and supremacy of Heaney's father. Both 'Digging' and 'Follower' tell us stories, which are similar but yet different. This poem 'Digging' is quite similar to 'Follower' as it shows how young Heaney looked up to his elders. Heaney sees his grandfather as old, "straining" to dig "flowerbeds". The poet recalls his father digging "potato drills" and his grandfather digging peat. Heaney knows he can't match "men like them with a spade," knowing the pen is mightier for him, and he will dig into the past with it.

Middle

Both poems have a similar theme of the countryside and farm life, which makes these terms suitable in both poems. The overlapped words also show us the specialised tools needed for being a successful farmer. There is technical vocabulary used in both poems but there is more of it in 'Follower'. In 'Follower' there also some specialised terms of ploughing, "wing, sock, headrig," and some active verbs like, "rolled, stumbled, tripping, yapping." Whereas in 'Digging' there aren't any specialised terms or active verbs, which makes it different from the 'Follower'. The technical vocabulary used by Heaney in Follower shows us the perfect craftsmanship of the father and the skill involved in performing hard working tasks. In 'Digging' there are also a few colloquial phrases like, "By God, the old man could handle a spade." In 'Follower' as well there are some colloquial phrases like, "mapping the furrow exactly." There is an extended metaphor of digging and roots, showing how the poet is getting back to his own roots. 'Follower' is basically literal and metaphorical since it is about the son following the father. The son grows up but does not really follow the father by working in the fields. There are a variety of metaphors used such as, "globed like a full sail." In 'Follower', Heaney makes a lot of nautical references such as the father's shoulders like the billowing of a sail of a ship, and "sod" rolls over "without breaking."

Conclusion

His 'eye' at an end of a line helps us feel the intensity and power of the gaze being described. 'Follower' consists of six stanzas each consisting of about four lines. On the other hand 'Digging' consists of nine stanzas of each containing different numbers of lines. 'Follower' for example with a consistent number of lines keeps the poem flowing and helps the rhythm of the poem. 'Digging' on the other hand doesn't have a specific layout which disrupts the flow of the poem slightly, and also makes it slightly harder to read. 'Follower' consists of six stanzas each consisting of about four lines. On the other hand 'Digging' consists of nine stanzas of each containing different numbers of lines. 'Follower' for example with a consistent number of lines keeps the poem flowing and helps the rhythm of the poem. 'Digging' on the other hand doesn't has a specific layout which disrupts the flow of the poem slightly, and also makes it slightly harder to read. I would conclude that both poems clearly show a great deal of similarities and differences, and both well written pieces give us a strong sense of the pastoral side of the world. Not to forget it shows us the strongly linked relationship between the father and the son and the way the son looks up to his father as a role model. Hasan Abdullah English Coursework 1

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