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Digging - Critical Response.

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Digging Critical Response By Rachel Salter Using his poetry, Seamus Heaney expresses his concerns and uses vivid and skilful imagery to describe to me how he reconciles himself with his choice not to continue the family tradition of farming. His dynamic and illustrating poetry reflects on the title "Digging" as it is though he is going beneath the surface of his thoughts and conscience to uncover his true feelings. He is almost conducting a self-examination as the poem is autobiographical. Heaney immediately draws me into his poem by introducing a very personal and expressive stanza, leaving me with a feeling of sympathy for him. Heaney contemplates his worries and emotions throughout the poem. He is concerned that he will fall short of the family's expectations, by not contributing to the farm and the success of his ancestors. ...read more.


Heaney uses vivid and detailed imagery to convey to me his worries and fears. "Under my window, a clean rasping sound." To me, this image suggests that he feels quite isolated and remote from the rest of his family. The word "clean" also indicates that Heaney believes farming is a good, honest occupation, but the word "rasping" may also imply that Heaney recognises that it is not what he wants to do. "By God, the old man could handle a spade. Just like his old man" This stanza deeply provokes the feeling of guilt but also pride of his origins. The language is noticeably informal and conversational which presents the feeling that he is speaking directly to me, indulging me in his words. ...read more.


"Between my fingers and my thumb. The squat pen rests. I'll dig with it." This is the last stanza and it shows me how he reconciles his decision to himself. He is suggesting that because of his inability to farm he will use poetry to make his family proud. Likewise he signals his understanding by expressing the difference between his father and him. "But I've no spade to follow men like them." Throughout the piece, Heaney successfully expresses his concerns and reconciles himself with his choice. The contradictory similes show me the choices running through his head. The skilled alliteration and choice of rhythm mimics the noises on the farm, which also highlights the emptiness and isolation. Without doubt, I feel that Heaney has produced a wonderful and thought provoking piece of work. ...read more.

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