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How do the words in "Follower" and "Digging" show what country life is like and how effective are the images produced?

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Introduction

How do the words in "Follower" and "Digging" show what country life is like and how effective are the images produced? "Follower" and "Digging", both by Seamus Heaney, have a similar theme that explores elements of country life, such as hard work, mastering a skill, harmony, teamwork and the speaker's admiration toward his elders. I will examine how the speaker uses diction to convey different imagery to show what country life is like and how effectively the images are produced. In 'Follower', the speaker uses the sibilance of 's' to create visceral imagery to reinforce to the reader how country life is hard, the harshness of working on the field, and the teamwork that is required: "His shoulders globed like a full sail strung....sweating...stumbled....The horse strained at his clicking tongue..." The speaker's use of sibilance conveys the tough image of the speaker's father working on the field. It also creates a harsh tone that makes the reader pause and reflect the words used to relate to the harshness of working on the field. ...read more.

Middle

The image of the freshly ploughed soil perfectly formed adds to the readers' perception of the countryside as a beautiful place because of his father's pride in work. The word 'exactly' indicates how things need to be accurate. Therefore the determined diction illustrates how much skill is required for such a simple task as ploughing a field. It portrays one's determination to master skills, which are needed to work on land and how much effort is need to learn a skill in the first place. In "Digging", the speaker also emphasizes the skills that are required for living in the country life using skillful farming imagery: "My father, digging...levered firmly...By God, the old man could handle a spade...his straining rump...Potato drills..." The speaker suggests that his father has great skills when it comes to digging. It indicates to the reader that country life is strenuous and much effort is required to dig properly. They also give us an image that the man is not only digging, but also doing it with immense skill; working on the land is difficult job, which requires a lot of will power to stay at. ...read more.

Conclusion

It demonstrates that country life is very family-orientated and professions are often carried down from father to son. The image of the speaker's father being taught how to dig by his father is very powerful and effective, because it highlights the strong bonds between people on a farm and in country life generally. In both 'Follower' and 'Digging', the speaker uses diction to convey the relationship between the father and the son and the hard work involved in running a farm. He also explores its harmony, mastering a skill, respect for family and the importance of people and value. The words in both poems give us an idea that country life is hard and require great skill to work effectively on a farm. These poems describe eloquently the people who work on the land and they provide reader with an insight into what qualities you must have to work on a farm through rich and effective imagery created by the words. ...read more.

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