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

What are the Themes/ Preoccupations of Heaney's Poetry and how does he explore them through 'Digging' and 'An Advancement of Learning'?

Extracts from this document...


What are the Themes/ Preoccupations of Heaney's Poetry and how does he explore them through 'Digging' and 'An Advancement of Learning'? In Digging Heaney explores his childhood and his relationship with his family by describing how he would look down at his Father out of his window, and how he looks at him and absorbs and admires the great skills his Father possesses. 'The coarse boot nestled on the lug, the shaft Against the inside knee was levered firmly.' The word nestled implies his Fathers natural ability to rest his foot on the spade. The poem also tells about how his Father had been Digging for twenty years, this was probably his whole lifetime at work. Heaney's relationship with his family is also shown in the sixth stanza where he talks about his Grandfather and how he had helped him when he was at a young age. The skills Heaney observed in his Father are also shown in the seventh stanza showing Heaney's relationship with his Family as a strong one as he worked with them and watched them on his farm. 'nicking and slicing neatly... for the good turf' The poem Digging puts across the idea that Heaney helped on the farm in his childhood, whereas An Advancement of Learning changes this picture by showing him as a lonely boy with strong fears and ...read more.


how skilful and long working his Father and Grandfather were, this is effective because you can imagine them skill fully cutting neat accurate amounts of turf and placing it down to take home for the fire. A similar language is used in the first two stanzas of An Advancement of Learning in Heaney's description of the river and the surrounding land. The words used give the river an old feel and also emphasise the solitariness of where Heaney is, 'Hunched over the railing, Well away from the road now' Heaney's vivid language is also used in describing the rat in the sixth and seventh stanzas this is very effective as you can gradually see the whole picture of the rat in your mind, I think Heaney does this to form some irony, for when he gets to the seventh stanza and he stares out the small creature, this is ironic because before the rat is described as a horrible ugly beast, Ears plastered down on his knobbled skull...The tapered tail that followed him, The raindrop eye, the old snout' The ideas behind both of the poems written by Heaney are ordered in a very much similar regular cyclic pattern, Both poems start with a problem, or something that Heaney must do, decide whether to did with his pen (explore his life as a child) ...read more.


This also helps to create a vivid picture of what Heaney was experiencing in his childhood. The stanza are also divided up as to the thought processes going through Heaney's mind at the time this can be seen between stanzas five and six, 'Just like his old man My Grandfather cut more turf in a day...' This is effective as it creates splits between different topics yet at the same time keeps the whole poem running together. This division between stanzas is also similar in An Advancement of Learning. The stanza are still divided up according to the subject Heaney is thinking of at the same time, however the stanza are linked by incomplete sentences from one stanza to the next. 'My throat sickened so quickly that I turned down the path in cold sweat' In Digging Heaney uses a conversational tone to make the poem more interesting to the reader, he does this in the sixth stanza when he is talking about his Grandfather. It is further made conversational by the use of slang phrases such as 'by God' He also uses a similar conversational language in An Advancement of Learning in the fourth stanza by using the word, 'But God' Alex Oakes - 10WN - Mr Hayes - Year 10 English Poetry First Draft. ...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. Explore Heaney's themes and poetic technique in 'Digging' and 'Follower'.

    milk to his grandfather he says that he 'corked it sloppily with paper.', after praising his father and grandfather he belittles himself. The grandfather doesn't even acknowledge him properly he just 'fell to right away'. Then he compliments his grandfather again 'Nicking and slicing neatly', contrasting himself with his grandfather.

  2. "Both Seamus Heaney and Carol Anne Duffy explore childhood in their poems - What ...

    he really is, and to understand himself more whereas Duffy prefers to write about the past perhaps just for the pleasure. Their language is very powerful in all their poems, but the poets use language quite differently. Both Heaney and Duffy use the first person, which may mean it is a real experience.

  1. Plath and Heaney - In this essay I will be looking at 3 poems, ...

    This builds up the suspense and tension; makes us feel impatient at the slowness with which the berries are ripening. The poem carries on to say; 'Among others, red, green, hard as a knot. You ate that first one and its flesh was sweet Like thickened wine: summer's blood was in it.'

  2. What are the preoccupations of Seamus Heaney’s poetry and how does he explore them?

    The poem is about the reaction to his brother's death, "In the porch I met my father crying- he had always taken funerals in his stride." Here we see his father in a different light; the man who previously

  1. At A Potato Digging

    "Knobbed and slit-eyed tubers" --> Heaney describes the potato almost as a growth - we imagine from the word "knobbed" that the potato has rounded lumps or parts projecting from its surface, and from the phrase "slit-eyed" we imagine the potatoes having long, straight cuts randomly on its outside surface.

  2. Choose any two poems you feel have common theme (or themes). Write about them ...

    stanza and the entirety of the second stanza: - "The horses strained at his clicking tongue. An expert..." He's not only 'good' at his work, he is an 'expert' working at the highest level of quality possible. We see more and more evidence of his perfection throughout the second and

  1. How does Heaney vividly explore the nature of fear in An Advancement of Learning?

    The tempo of the poem seems to be speeding up in stanza 3 where he has just been faced with this 'rat'. By showing that he has conquered his real life and metaphorical fears, I believe that Heaney wants the reader to absorb the morals of the poem that most

  2. In his poems 'Follower and Digging' Heaney is thinking about his father. How do ...

    The descriptive phrase, 'in his broad shadow around the farm,' depicts how close he follows his father. It expresses how large the father's shadow is, which engulfs Heaney. Heaney viewed himself as a 'nuisance,' when he was a child. He didn't help much, but followed his father around.

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