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

Seamus Heaney & Tony Curtis.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Seamus Heaney & Tony Curtis On initial reading both the Follower and Strongman are simply about a son's relationship with their father. Whilst this relationship is a central theme of both poems, the poems also explore a range of issues including cultural identity, guilt and social class. This essay will attempt to analyse both poems individually and to also identify areas of conflict and similarity between the poems. The first two words of Follower by Seamus Heaney are "My father" which immediately establishes the poet's emotionally involved relationship with the subject of the poem. In contrast the poet of Strongman writes in the third person for the majority of the poem and it is only really in the last two lines that the poet establishes that he is addressing the poem to the son. Both poems create a vivid picture of physically strong fathers who draw on their physical strength by undertaking skilled manual jobs to support their families "My father worked with a horse-plough" and "A carpenter who could punch nails into wood with a clench fist". Seamus Heaney employs the use of a number of sea images in helping the reader to visualise the immense strength and stamina of his father's body "His shoulders globed like a full sail strung" and "Sometimes he rode me .... ...read more.

Middle

Whilst admiration of his father is the dominant emotion in the first half of Follower, it morphs (?) into guilt in the second half. Guilt is a prevailing theme in Seamus Heaney's work. The poem Digging is a particularly relevant example of how the poet contrasts the intellectual and middle-class nature of his work as a poet with the working-class labours of his family. In Digging, Seamus Heaney directly compares his work tool of the pen with the tools employed by his father "Between my finger and my thumb The squat pen rests I'll dig with it" and "By God, the old man could handle a spade". There is a strong sense of yearning and regret as the poet recalls his childhood ambition to "grow up and plough" whilst the reality was that rather that taking over his father's role, as he clearly felt he should have done, all that he "did was follow In his broad shadow round the farm". The poet sill feels that he is living in his father's shadow and that he is unable to stop comparing himself to his father and that in any comparison the poet is a lesser man. ...read more.

Conclusion

The final line of Follower is ambiguous as it can either be interpreted that the poet is comforted by the memory of his father and is relieved that the influence of his father remains with him at all times and "will not go away". Alternatively the persistent memory of his father could be viewed as a burden that troubles the poet. The conclusion of the Strongman focuses on the reversed roles of the father and son. The original role of the father as the provider and central axis in the family has now disappeared to the extent that it is now the son who not only cares for the father physically but also emotionally as he reassures the father with "No trouble - he said, no trouble, Dad". The final likes of the poem encapsulate the indignities of sickness and old age. The use of minimalist, stark language, without the use of unnecessary adjectives heightens the poignancy of the last lines. In conclusion both Follower and Strongman are brief but effective poems that successfully portray father - son relationships. The readers are allowed an intimate snapshot/glimpse into these relationships. Both poems describe the permanent bonds between fathers and sons whilst also effectively addressing how these bonds evolve. (1,202 words) ...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. "Strongman" by Tony Curtis and "Mid-termbreak" by Seamus Heaney deal with the subject of ...

    This could also be reflecting the emotions of the child in the sick bay; at this point we are not sure. The structure is interesting, because at first glance we see that it has a regular pattern to it, which are three lines to each stanza.

  2. Mother - son relationship

    It is crucial to state here that absolutely nothing suggests that this relationship went beyond conventional frames of ordinary mother - son relationship. These moments only constitute integral part of the picture of physical and spiritual harmony shown in this poem.

  1. In The Follower when the son became the one doing the ploughing he got ...

    This gives the impression he is broad and solid and also implies he has a strong, muscular neck that was like a tree trunk. The poet suggests that there is a close bond between father and son by the son's ambition when he is an adult.

  2. Compare And Contrast Seamus Heaney's Poems 'Digging' And 'Follower'.

    Both 'Digging' and 'Follower' consist of simple language. Here are some examples from 'Digging', "my grandfather cut more turf in a day," and this is from 'Follower', "I wanted to grow up and plough." This suggests a simplicity of language used by Heaney in both poems.

  1. After reading the two poems Digging and Follower, discuss the relationship that Heaney writes ...

    pen rests; snug as a gun", and it can be compared to line 4, "Then the spade sinks..." Here, Heaney is trying to force through the point that his father's profession was a farmer, and his weapon was a spade, whereas, Heaney's profession is a writer and his dangerous weapon is the pen.

  2. Background Material by Tony Harrison

    This is a reasonable point to make, but returning to the idea of bad quality, this is backed up by the following line in the verse, "I make out what's behind them from the blur". The blur tells us that it was taken without care as it was badly focused.

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