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Compare and contrast the way in which memories and emotions are described in "Digging" and "Mum, dad and me."

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Introduction

Compare and contrast the way in which memories and emotions are described in "Digging" and "Mum, dad and me." In this essay I will compare and contrast the ways in which memories and emotions are described in the poems "Digging" by Seamus Heaney, and "Mum, dad and me" by James Berry. I will do this by exploring the meaning, voice, techniques used and structure of each of the poems. The poem "Digging" by Seamus Heaney is autobiographical, it centres on his choice to become a poet. The poem starts in the present when his father digging beneath his window takes Heaney back to his childhood, twenty years away. He remembers looking up to his father and grandfather, being proud of what they did and how well they did it. There also is an element of Heaney's nationality in debate in the poem. Labouring and digging for potatoes are seen as traditionally Irish where writing poems is not. When he comes back to the present at the end of the poem he is determined to go his own way ...read more.

Middle

"snug as a gun." This simile shows the pen as solid and powerful, it brings the reader to think of it as dangerous and that it has some control over people. It is also considered a big personal decision to use a gun and a gun is also a negative image as if it is going to hurt someone. However in the ending of the poem Heaney compares his pen to the spade of his predecessors, "The squat pen rests, I'll dig with it." This is a very dramatic last line and it represents Heaney's decision to write. It contrasts with the image of the gun as it is gives the idea of something hardworking and constructive rather than dangerous. Imagery is also used in the poem. "But I've no spade to follow men like that." This puts the image in the reader's head that Heaney is physically unable to follow the tradition of digging; he has "no spade." ...read more.

Conclusion

The structure of "Mum, dad and me" is also similar to "Digging" as the verses are irregular ranging from three to five lines. However "Mum, dad and me" is made up of eight verses. The main similarity between the two poems is that the poets both want freedom. James Berry wants the freedom his parents had growing up in Jamaica and Seamus Heaney wants the freedom of writing rather than being a labourer like his father and grandfather. The main difference between the poems is that "Digging" represents a conscious decision by Heaney whereas "Mum, dad and me" is more an observance of Berry's life and longing for something more. "Mum, dad and me" is more open and leaves the reader to draw their own conclusions when Heaney's "Digging" draws to a definite end. In conclusion these poems are similar in that they are both autobiographical and show their poet's longing for freedom. However they are very different in the types of freedom they want and whether they get it. They also show their personal searches in different ways and using different techniques. Rebecca Rowe ...read more.

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