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Digging by Seamus Heaney-IOC Script

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Justin Chong 5.11 Lit SL ?Digging? by Seamus Heaney-IOC Script The poem Digging, by Seamus Heaney, recalls a child?s memories of his father and grandfather conducting their ritualistic tradition, digging potatoes. Heaney was born of Patrick Heaney in Northern Ireland, where his father and paternal grandfather were farmers. His mother on the other hand held a whole different background to Heaney?s paternal side, with her family being employed at the local linen mill. Therefore Heaney?s works, such as the poem Digging, often feature a unique mix of his past experiences, blending in allusions to the farmer?s life while keeping modernistic views influenced by the industrial life?s traditions held by his mother. Firstly, the structure of the poem will be analyzed. If we look at the structure of the poem, we note that there seems to be no form of order or organization between the sections of the poem. ...read more.


The usage of strong assonance between the words ?snug? and ?gun? as well as the fact that the phrase ?snug as a gun? shares the characteristic effect of a palindrome, emphasizes the perfect fit between the persona and his pen. The pen used by the persona builds a symbolic effect when paired with another item that Heaney mentions in Digging, the spade. Both these items recur such as in the phrases ?the squat pen rests?, ?the spade sinks into gravelly ground ?and ?the old man could handle a spade?. These two items symbolize the contrasting professions held by the persona and his father and grandfather. The persona makes the distinction between his profession and his forefathers with the verse in the seventh section where he states ?But I?ve no spade to follow men like them?. Heaney uses reoccurring items in Digging, namely that of the spade and the pen. ...read more.


The symbolism of the gun within the usage of this metaphor reflects conflict, as the gun is a tool of conflict. It is also indicative of his willingness to ?war? against family traditions to build upon his own goals. The persona wants to break from the past, enduring the continuity of digging through poetry as shown by the phrase ?but I?ve no spade to follow men like them?. Using the pen as his ?spade? the persona uses poetry as his form of ?digging? deeper. Despite not producing tangible potatoes as his forefathers had, he manages to produce his own tangible poetry. In conclusion, Heaney portrays the break of tradition from the labor-intensive lifestyle of the past into a new future of literature. The continuity of digging is asserted through the persona?s wishes to dig through the form of writing, choosing the squat pen as his choice of tool. With the usage of strong imagery and many literary devices, Seamus Heaney conveys his traditional roots and experiences through this powerful poem. ...read more.

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