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In his poems 'Follower and Digging' Heaney is thinking about his father. How do these two poems give you different ideas about his relationship with his father?

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In his poems 'Follower and Digging' Heaney is thinking about his father. How do these two poems give you different ideas about his relationship with his father? Rachel Burrow In the two poems, 'Digging' and 'Follower', Seamus Heaney writes about growing up on his father's farm, in County Derry, in Ireland. I am going to compare and contrast, remembered and present day, feelings Heaney has about his relationship with his father. The poem 'Follower' tells us about Heaney's admiration for his father and how he wants to grow up to plough just like him. He observes how his father tends to the farm, but how Heaney is never allowed to do much. He cannot wait for the day when he is old enough to work the farm, in the skilled way he has watched his father do. At the end of 'Follower,' Heaney explains how his relationship with his father has changed. As Heaney grows up, the poem 'Digging,' describes how Heaney's attitude has changed. When he was a child, he admired and wanted to be just like his father. Now he wants to be a poet and go his own way. He does not want to follow the same path as men generations before him, although he feels farming is just as important. The poem 'Follower', describes to us Heaney's perspective as a child. He compares his view of his father with a mighty boat. 'His shoulders globed like a full sail strung,' makes us imagine his father's appearance is as big as a large sailing ship. The simile tells the reader about the power of his father and how Heaney admired his father physically. This tells the reader about the effort involved in ploughing, and describes how big and strong his father's shoulders were. This creates a very vivid picture of a small child's awe of looking at something so magnificent. ...read more.


The way he compares his pen to a spade emphasizes that he feels writing is as important as working on a farm. It also describes to the reader that the pen is powerful like a gun. It is strong and could kill, which is compared to how writing something nasty about a person could cause hurt to their feelings. This rhyming couplet expresses a more confident and optimistic mood, than in the poem, 'Follower.' The onomatopoeia in the third line creates a vivid picture in the readers mind; about the sounds Heaney would hear as his father dug up potatoes. 'A clean rasping sound,' as the stones in the soil slice against the iron of the spade. This makes Heaney remember the way his father used to be, now that he is an old man. The use of alliteration in the fourth line, 'gravelly ground,' emphasizes the loud, sharp noise the father is making whilst he is digging. It also tells the reader about the condition of the soil. In the next line Heaney uses the short sentence, 'I look down.' This emphasizes how Heaney's view of his father has changed. Heaney is looking down on his father from the window as he recalls memories of his father digging. The first poem describes Heaney as a young boy, following his father around and looking up in admiration at him. This tells the reader that Heaney has distanced himself from his father and has accepted that he wants to go his own way in life. In the next verse Heaney describes his father digging, 'straining rump among the flowerbeds.' As he 'bends low,' to shovel the dirt, 'he comes up twenty years away.' This tells the reader that as Heaney describes his father digging he is recalling scenes from twenty years before. 'Stooping in rhythm,' conveys Heaney's admiration for his fathers digging technique, which is ordered and kept to a steady pace. ...read more.


I have realised that as I have grown up, I have broken away from my parent's views and started to find out what I want in life. I have started to value my own morals and opinions and, just like Heaney, I have taken my own path. The relationship Heaney had with his father as a child reminds me of memories I have, from when I was a young girl. The way his father picked up his son sometimes, even though he worked extremely hard, reminds me of when my dad used to take me walking in the woods. I would struggle to keep up because I only had short legs and tired very easily. So my dad would pick me up and sit me on his shoulders, where I would fall asleep. These memories of being looked after, even though at times I must have been very heavy, have led me to become a patient person. I admired my dad for having patience with me even though I was a pain at times. The way Heaney's father would look after him as a child also reminds me of when my parents used to read stories to me. They would wrap me up in their arms and give me a big cuddle, which made me feel safe and loved. Heaney's admiration for his father, reminds me of how much I used to admire my dad. When we used to go walking on the sand banks in Liverpool; he could tell exactly what type of bird was in the trees, just by listening to its song. This taught me to treat the environment with respect and that even one tiny bird has an identity. I was fascinated by how he had all this knowledge of the countryside and wanted to grow up to love the countryside and appreciate it, just like him. I hoped one day, that I would be able to recognise what type of birds were around by the tune they make. Rachel Burrow ...read more.

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