• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Digging’ and ‘Early Purges’

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Diverse cultures and Traditions in 20th Century poetry Introduction For the Diverse Cultures assignment, I have studied pieces by Seamus Heaney. These include 'Digging' and 'Early Purges'. All the poems relate back to his young life in Limavady in the County of Derry, Northern Ireland. When Heaney was young, he wanted to follow in his fathers and grandfathers footsteps of being farmers. Not just that, but being the eldest child in his family, he was expected to. Instead however, he turned his back on his family's great tradition, and decided to become a writer instead. As said, Heaney did want to become a farmer, this was expressed in the poem 'Follower', where he describes the way his father used to plough fields. The title itself shows there was once an ambition to follow. Furthermore, the pride that Heaney expresses in his family's age-old tradition is articulated in the poem 'Digging': "By God, the old man could handle a spade. ...read more.

Middle

There is no clearer depiction of an Irish, Catholic background than that found in 'Half-term break', where Heaney is taken from boarding school to find out his four-year-old brother is dead. The traditional 'wake' is described in this poem, something that is uniquely Irish. He says "old men standing up to shake my hand and tell me they were 'sorry for my trouble'". I have a perfect picture of this in my head as I have been to a few wakes. I can even imagine the whispers circling the room in the colloquial, sharp, Derry accent. After reading through his poems that relate to farming, I get the feeling that he regretted not following the tradition which so many families in the area of rural Northern Ireland had. Although I cannot substantiate this statement with any apparent evidence I think he felt somewhat disloyal to his roots and to his father. The poem 'Digging', Heaney takes time to intricately describe the way his father digging and cutting turf. ...read more.

Conclusion

This is very graphic writing, and some could say, quite disturbing. I personally think it adds to the atmosphere of the poem. I think that the up until the final two verses, Heaney's outlook is that of a young boy, who doesn't understand why something so cruel should happen. Heaney then shows his maturity by showing his understanding that the kittens, or 'pests' as they and other such animals were collectively known, basically had to be removed. The language used by Heaney also expresses the fact that little was thought of these so-called nuisances. He says they are 'slung' and Dan Taggart describes them as 'scraggy wee shits'. This shows the way people who owned farms perceived the killings, which was a stark contrast to those in urban communities. 'Blackberry picking' is a poem about Heaney blackberry picking in the late August summer. Once again, Heaney vividly describes what happens, appealing to our senses. He talks about berries 'inking up' and describes the different colours and there texture. The overall look of the poem is he and his 'accomplices' hunting their 'treasure'. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Seamus Heaney section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Seamus Heaney essays

  1. 'The Early Purges' by Seamus Heaney focuses on the traumas of childhood, and how ...

    slung on the snout' The 's' letter is repeatedly used, this creates a coarse atmosphere and also a fast paced scene; the author apparently doesn't have time to carefully think about word choice, he just has to describe what he sees quickly, as it happens.

  2. GCSE English Seamus Heaney - 'At a Potato Digging', 'Follower', 'Death ...

    The sight of his father digging reminds Heaney of his grandfather digging and the excellent reputation that he had for being able to dig out peat turves. A reflective tone ends the poem as the poet states that he will not be able to follow in their way of life

  1. Seamus Heaney had a Roman Catholic upbringing in a rural area of Northern Ireland. ...

    He had to wait in boredom and listen to the sound of a bell tolling solemnly. The "knelling," suggests that a funeral has taken place. He has been there a long time because he sat all morning and the neighbours took him home at 2 o'clock.

  2. Comparing "Mid-term Break" and "The Early Purges".

    There is a simile with "Like wet gloves"; the poet is trying to relate something we know the gloves, with something we don't, the kittens drowning. Gloves are always lost and forgotten about; they are not very important and can easily be replaced.

  1. Seamus Heaney and Sylvia Plath both approach death and ageing in their poems. Seamus ...

    The last stanza now has no blackberries spoken of. All is spoken of is the sea and the wind. She speaks of these two as cruel evil elements of the world: From between two hills a sudden wind funnels at me, Slapping its phantom laundry in my face. The word 'phantom' makes you consider of an evil, ugly supernatural

  2. Comparing Mid-Term Break with Digging

    In the second stanza it is metaphorical- the red rope of love is the love between the mother and daughter, and even though they are annoyed with each other they cannot break it. This shows that the bond formed at birth is still strong, and runs deeper then emotions.

  1. What do we learn about Seamus Heaney's childhood experiences of growing up in "Mid- ...

    This metaphor, reminds me of two things; the first is the beginning of when a bruise is formed, you skin is all red -like a poppy- and slowly, the purple and green parts set into the bruise. Also, Heaney may have used this metaphor to compare with the death of

  2. The Early Purges by Seamus Heaney.

    no value "scraggy wee shits" and adult Heaney does the same, even swearing like Dan "bloody pups". We see older person try to deceive child to protect him from his compassion "Sure isn't it better for them now?" - but the child is not convinced.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work