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Comparing and contrasting

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Comparing and contrasting "Digging" and "The Follower" In this essay I will be giving quotes and explaining about two pieces of poetry, written by Seamus Heaney. The two poems I will be writing on will contrast and his memories on his rural childhood. The poems will be "the follower" which takes us back to Heaney as a child wanting to follow in his father's footsteps. I will also be writing on "digging", which takes us back once again to his farm but instead not wanting to follow in his fathers footsteps So basically I will be writing about how the poems contrast to his rural childhood and I'll explain the quotes and the poems. I will firstly however give you a bit of an insight to Heaney's life Seamus Heaney was born April 13, 1939, at Mossbawn, about thirty miles northwest of Belfast, in Northern Ireland. His first book, Death of a Naturalist, was published in 1966. Heaney is the author of numerous collections of poetry, three volumes of criticism, and The Cure at Troy, a version of Sophocles' Philoctetes. He is a Foreign Member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and held the chair of Professor of Poetry at Oxford from 1989 to 1994. ...read more.


father to produce such perfect work in the face of provocation shows the reader that, through the image of a small boy tagging along, country life can be very tiring at times. Lastly in "Follower", Heaney says, "It is my father who keeps stumbling behind me, and will not go away". This tells the reader that on a farm, and in the close communities of country areas in general, there is a much larger sense of family, and even though Heaney's father may be a nuisance now, because of the strong bonds that exist on the farm, he is not send off to a retirement home, but kept as a family member. This image is very moving. This poem serves to show the reader that life in the country can be difficult at times, but to get the rewards, you have to work very hard first. It also has themes about the relationship between father and son in the country and especially on farms. In "Digging", country life is portrayed in a similar way to in all the others. The skill, which some people have to work on a farm, is focused on in this poem, like it was in "The Follower" and also the theme of relationships on the farm is brought back in. ...read more.


However, the image is also a surprise, because Heaney says in "the Follower" that he wants to be like his father, but here he has changed his mind. This poem, like the other two, has main themes, and they are very similar to the others. It is all about the hard work involved in running a farm, the relationship between the father and son, and the expectation that profession and skills will be carried on throughout the family. For my conclusion I will make a short point on both poems and explain my opinion about them. Both 'follower' and 'Digging' explore Heaney's sense of his own place in the family tradition. However, in 'Follower' he seems content to register that his life has turned out different from his father's, but nevertheless feels great love and admiration for him. In 'Digging', the distance between him and his family seems greater. There is the same affection and admiration, but there is also a much greater emphasis on the poet's own skills and identity, a much greater awareness of the difference between the worlds of pen and land. In my opinion I think the poems are written well but I wouldn't normally like these poems, but after studying them you get a better understanding for them and they don't seem as dull because you feel you know more about the poems. Chris Vine ...read more.

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