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Compare and Contrast the parent-child relationship in 'Digging' and 'Catrin'?

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Compare and Contrast the parent-child relationship in 'Digging' and 'Catrin'? There are many differences in the parent-child relationship between 'Digging' and 'Catrin'. There are differences in culture and upbringing since the two families come from different countries. Heaney's upbringing was very traditional and he was raised to be farmer like his ancestors. Clarke meanwhile lives in a much more modern environment with both its advantages and disadvantages. In "Catrin" it first of all relates to the mothers feelings at birth. 'I can remember you, our first Fierce confrontation, the tight Red rope of love which we both Fought over.' By saying 'I can remember you' Clarke also tells us that she is writing the poem a considerable amount of time after the birth but that the memory is still so strong she can remember it very clearly . The umbilical cord also in turn brings to mind the image of blood and that which you associate with it such as pain and suffering. When Clarke says that they fought over the umbilical cord it represents the violence and hostility of their relationship from the very beginning of their relationship, there is also a more malicious edge added to the conflict with the harsh alliteration of 'first fierce'. ...read more.


This implies that Clarke believes life to be the same from birth to death constant arguing and bickering. Catrin finishes with a note of regret. 'Trailing love and conflict, As you ask may you skate In the dark for one more hour' She regrets that the pair of them are always fighting and perhaps that with a little more effort and obedience they might have had a better relationship. It also shows that Catrin is slowly moving away from her mother, seeking her independence and her freedom. The 'dark' also represents the mood between the mother and the daughter at the end of the poem. The poem 'Digging' begins very differently to Catrin. There are no negative words or conflict. It begins with a metaphor which describes his comfort and the power of his writing. 'The squat pen rests: snug as a gun.' The warmth of the word 'snug' helps the reader to relax and begins the poem on a positive note. It also describes how the pen is crafted for Heaney and it fits well because writing is what he does best. The gun is also a reference back to Ireland's violent history, but the fact that Heaney talks about this shows that he is proud of his heritage, unlike Clarke who does not once mention her welsh background in 'Catrin'. ...read more.


This section also demonstrates that Heaney wants to help his family from an early age, even if it is in a haphazard manner. This is because in Catrin the daughter has no respect for each other and therefore we learn nothing about either person because all they do is talk about how much they dislike each other. Like Catrin however, Digging ends on a note of regret. 'But I've no spade to follow men like them. Between my finger and my thumb The squat pen rests. I'll dig with it.' Heaney is regretful because he knows that he does not have the patience or dedication to dig as his ancestors have done. His great skill lies in writing, so all he can do is try and follow his family's tradition by digging up the past with his writing. He also feels obliged to preserve his family's history through his writing. In conclusion the main difference between Digging and Catrin is that of respect and the lack of it that Catrin has for her mother, as compared to the awed respect of Heaney for his ancestors. There are few similarities between the two poems although it can be said that both of the younger relatives did love their parents although they expressed this in two very different fashions. Jack Swindlehurst 5MSF ...read more.

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