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Examine two poems,

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Introduction

Rosanna Jones. 10m. English coursework. Task: Examine two poems, "Digging" and "Follower" by Seamus Heaney and then compare the poems, explaining both their differences and similarities. The first poem I am going to examine is "digging" by Seamus Heaney. I will first comment on the title of the poem. "Digging" has both a metaphorical and literal meaning to it. The literal meaning is that his father and his grandfather are farmers. The poem talks about the men "Digging" and working, so this explains the literal meaning of the poem. The metaphorical meaning is that Seamus Heaney is "Digging" into his past and back round, which is farming. So, the title is rather effective. Now I will examine the rest of the poem. Firstly, I will look at, and comment on, the first stanza. In this verse, Seamus Heaney is not doing anything. It seems as if he is waiting for inspiration. In the second line, there is a strange simile; "The squat pen rests; snug as a gun". This is strange because "snug" is a comfortable word which suggests he is comfortable with his writing, but gun is a powerful and dangerous word. This could mean that his pen could be powerful (and it is; it ends up being his career). The word "squat" makes it seem as if he is eager to write and as if the pen is poised; ready to spring. ...read more.

Middle

He says, as he does in the first stanza, how the "squat pen rests". He then says that he will dig with the pen. I don't think he means this literally. There are a few meanings that there could be, that I have come up with for him saying this. He could mean that he will be "digging" for ideas - exploring. Also, there is a possibility that he means he will dig into the past, like he has done in the poem. It could have a simple meaning, like he will write with the pen, although I think the meaning stretches far beyond just simply writing with the pen. This time he uses the word digging, he means it in a different way from the "digging" he talks about throughout the poem. The last stanza ends very optimistically and upbeat/cheerful. In conclusion, I found this poem a very interesting poem to read. I thoroughly enjoyed studying it. I found it interesting looking for meanings as to what was said in the poem, and found that the meaning of some lines were more than just what was stated. There is a deep meaning to almost every line and verse. Rosanna Jones. 10m. English coursework. Task: Examine two poems, "Digging" and "Follower" by Seamus Heaney and then compare the poems, explaining both their differences and similarities. The second poem I am going to examine is "Follower" by Seamus Heaney. ...read more.

Conclusion

The last stanza, the sixth one, is rather pessimistic. I found this stanza quite interesting. Heaney calls himself a nuisance, which is pessimistic; he's putting himself down. He reinforces the idea that he is clumsy and gets in the way by saying "tripping and falling, yapping always". Also, by saying "yapping", we get the image if an annoying little dog in our minds. The last sentence; "But today it is my father who keeps stumbling behind me, and will not go away." I found this ending pessimistic and almost disturbing. It's depressing and puts a downer on the poem. The poem is about how great his father is, and then ends bluntly; by saying Heaney is a nuisance. I found it unexpected. I think that it may mean that his back round wont go away and he feeds his writing by his past. It could also mean that his father is now old and feeble. Whichever this may be, it is a very ironic ending. The pessimistic ending is much unlike that of "Digging", which ended optimistically. I found this poem hard to understand at first, but then I looked between the lines, and, like "Digging", I found it really interesting and deep/meaningful. I rather digging though, I found it a more interesting and optimistic poem. Though, I did really like the last stanza of "Follower"; I found it very effective. But I also did with "Digging". Overall, I enjoyed both poems thoroughly and would like to look at more of Seamus Heaney's work. 1 ...read more.

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