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Digging Commentary

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Digging Commentary The poem "Digging" by Seamus Heaney has the author reflecting about his father and grand-father's careers and the effect it had on him, throughout his life. While the poem progresses, Heaney goes further back into his memories to remember the manual labor his ancestors did by digging. Seamus Heaney continues the family trade by using his writing to "dig" like his father and grand-father before him. In the first two stanzas of the poem, Seamus Heaney pauses while he we writes, to observe his father digging. Heaney "rests" the "pen" and notices "under" his "window" his "father, digging". ...read more.


The digging his ancestors is a constant reminder for Heaney, as he pauses to "look down" to his "father, digging". Heaney is not necessarily interested in the manual labor his fore-fathers did, dut does show respect for their hard work ethic. In the middle of the poem Heaney shows the utmost respect for his ancestors, particularly his grandfather, who he believes his actions "slicing neatly" are more talented then what Heaney does "sloppily with paper". We also encounter the fact in this paragraph that the digging being completed changes with each generation, his grand-father dug for "good turf", and his father dug for "potatoes", and after he retired, he dug for his "garden". ...read more.


If the justification fits, then the family trade of digging progresses one more generation while the grand-father uses a spade to cut turf for heat and energy, the father also using a spade to cut potatoes for food, and the son, using a pen to dig for literary significance. Seamus Heaney's "Digging" is about the generational shift that changes the work his family does, while his father and grand-father both used spades as their tool to dig into the earth, Seamus Heaney uses a pen as his tool to dig into his pieces of literature. Therefore, Seamus Heaney continues the family trade by using his writing to "dig" like his father and grand-father before him. ...read more.

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