Seamus Heaney Digging Analysis

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In both ‘Digging’ and ‘Follower’, Heaney creates a tone of respect and admiration for his father and grandfather that permeate all aspects of the poems. He portrays them as being strong, skilful and dedicated; this is achieved through the use of vivid descriptions, structure and careful placement of words with connotations. In ‘Follower’, Heaney portrays his father as skilled and knowledgeable. Throughout out the poem, Heaney uses specialized terms to describe his father’s job, such as ‘shafts’, ‘wing’ and ‘sock’. As this is vocabulary very niche, it suggest that the father knows his trade well, and is professional in how he goes about his work. These specific terms also tell the reader that he is also very knowledgeable and experienced in…show more content…
The use of plosive alliteration in the phrase ‘buried the bright edge deep’ echoes the physical power and stamina required to shift the ‘turf’. Similarly the use of enjambment in the phrase ‘Heaving sods / over his shoulder’ affirms not only the arduous action of the digging but also how it is a continuous process making it seem even more exhausting. This tiring work is further asserted with the use of active verbs, such as ‘digging’, ‘slicing’ and ‘nicking’ which show just how laborious the work is. These actions also suggest a sense of confidence with his method as he carries out all the processes needed to dig the turf. The harsh syllable sounds are almost onomatopoeic in its rhythmic effect – they allow the reader to imagine the digging and turning over of the turf. Heaney emphasizes his father’s efficiency with the use of the phrase ‘stoops in rhythm’, along with the general rhythm of the poem. These create the effect of his father being fluid, regular and continuous with his movement, bringing to mind the motion of a machine. To finish off the image of a well-rounded talented man, Heaney ties it in with his admiration. The caesura and emphatic placement of the phrase ‘By God’. This colloquial phrase has a dramatic quality to it, encouraging the reader to pause and share with Heaney the realization of what a truly talented man his father
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