Delving: An Explication Of Seamus Heaney’s “Digging”

1148 words - 5 pages

Heaney grew up at a time in Irish history when there was controversy as to whether young men should work in rising industry, gain their education, serve in the military or stay with their familiar family farm. Heaney very obviously chose to gain an education as he won a scholarship to attend a Catholic boarding school when he was twelve years old; he then went on to go to college where he embraced knowledge (Seamus Heaney - Biographical). In “Digging,” Heaney uses images he gained as he viewed his father and grandfather to portray qualities applied in work which he plans to carry from older generations of work to apply in his own work as a writer. For example, he uses symbols such as a spade ...view middle of the document...

J. Heaney). It should also be taken into account while reading “Digging” that he is illustrating change of ideals in the bringing forth of new muscles versus old muscles. For example, lines twenty-six through thirty-one say,
“The curt cuts of an edge
Through living roots awaken in my head
But I’ve no spade to follow men like them.

Between my finger and my thumb
The squat pen rests.
I’ll dig with it.”
In this passage Heaney explicitly shows that while he wants to follow in the footholds of his forefathers, he has chosen a different tool of power. Implicitly, he illustrates that while if he had taken the training necessary to become a potato farmer, he would have joined their example of farming, but he made a different choice to gain an education in English. The imagery used in the comparison of the pen to the spade illustrates the expertise he learned from watching the work ethic of his father and grandfather which he plans to exhibit in the new muscles he provides with the power of his pen.
In accordance to following his forefathers, Heaney gained insights pertaining to work ethic as a young boy by watching his grandfather delve down for what he says is “the good turf” (24) immediately following quickly taking a moment to drink a bottle of milk. This is his only break mentioned although it was brief. By not taking a moment to be distracted by his grandson and searching for the better turf, which would be used to plant new roots, Heaney explicitly captures the work ethic his grandfather lived to show. In the final stanza of “Digging” Heaney says that he will dig with the squat pen that rests between his finger and his thumb. In perspective, the spade his grandfather uses is the tool that he is working so hard with while he is “nicking and slicing neatly.”(22) Whereas Heaney holds his pen in his working hands to neatly enthrall his poetic voice in order to illustrate that he is “levered firmly” as the lug against his grandfather’s knee, loving his pen as he loved the feeling of cool potatoes in his hands. In order to show how he is going to measure up to his father and grandfather Heaney gives way for imagery to illustrate how the pen of power, even the pen of knowledge, will be his spade in likeness to the spade his father and grandfather used that...

Find Another Essay On Delving: An Explication of Seamus Heaney’s “Digging”

A Comparison of Seamus Heaney's Poem Digging and The song of the old mother, by William Butler Yeats

1599 words - 6 pages I have looked at the poem 'Digging' by Seamus Heaney. The poem is about the poet digging into his past and appears to be a modest poem. The "nicking and slicing neatly" that Heaney says in his poem can also apply to the crafting of a poem. Heaney seems unhappy and distanced from his farming family roots however he shows a good amount of admiration for farming men. Heaney shows the skill and dignity of labour. The

An Explication of Sylvia Plath8217s 8220Daddy8221

1000 words - 4 pages An Explication of Sylvia Plath8217s 8220Daddy8221 It tends to be the trend for women who have had traumatic childhoods to be attracted to men who epitomize their emptiness felt as children. Women who have had unaffectionate or absent fathers, adulterous husbands or boyfriends, or relatives who molested them seem to become involved in relationships with men who, instead of being the opposite of the “monsters” in their lives, are the

An Explication of Tennyson's The Lady of Shalott

1160 words - 5 pages An Explication of Tennyson's The Lady of Shalott       Children often grow up listening to fairy tales.  Repunsel is one fairy tale about a girl cursed to live a life of isolation in a tower.  She longs to break free from seclusion and become part of the outside world.  She eventually finds her one true love and risks her life to be with him.  "The Lady of Shalott" by Lord Alfred Tennyson relates to Repunsel in many ways.  In this poem

An Explication of Sharon Olds’ Poem, Feared Drowned

982 words - 4 pages An Explication of Sharon Olds’ Poem “Feared Drowned.” Fear is an amazing emotion, in that it has both psychological as well as physiological effects on the human body. In instances of extreme fear, the mind is able to function in a way that is detached and connected to the event simultaneously. In “Feared Drowned,” Sharon Olds presents, in six brief stanzas, this type of instance. Her sparse use of language, rich with metaphors

An Explication of "How do I love Thee"

666 words - 3 pages An Explication of "How do I love Thee"Elizabeth Barrett Browning's "How do I love Thee" from "Sonnets from thePortuguese" portrays a relationship and love in an exceptional manner that is notvery common by today's standards. In the opening line, the speaker portrays thejoy and delight felt by this kind of love and relationship. This is presented to thereader in the form of the rhetoric question, "How do I love thee?" (1). The toneconveyed is one

An Explication Of Langston Hughes' "Mother To Son"

1322 words - 5 pages An Explication of Langston Hughes' "Mother to Son" Langston Hughes once stated in his own words that his whole purpose for writing was, "to explain and illuminate the Negro condition in America." In the poem "Mother to Son", he denotes his belief on racism in America. In "Mother to Son", a mother is giving advice to her son about life from her perspective and experiences. She wants her son to keep striving on what he believes and to have a more

An explication of William Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream"

1683 words - 7 pages PAGE Pascual PAGE 1 Pascual, James.ENGL116Professor Wing7/19/2007Essay #2: Explication of A Midsummer Night's DreamWhether it's The Beatles, our boyfriends and girlfriends, husbands and wives or our own friends that confirm the validity of that statement, we know that to some degree, it's true. "All you need is love, love.. Love is all you need." We think about it, sing about it, dream about it and even lose sleep worrying about it. Love can

An Explication of Shakespeare’s “Let me not to the marriage of true minds”

1016 words - 4 pages An Explication of Shakespeare’s “Let me not to the marriage of true minds” The sonnet begins with the poet making a declaration of his belief in love. In line one he refers to a “marriage of true minds” (1). The choice of the word “true” here is interesting as it has many possible meanings. Did he intend for us to think of true as meaning correct, exact, or precise? These are not the meanings that come to mind when we talk about love. In

An Explication of Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night

815 words - 3 pages An Explication of Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night In this poem Thomas makes a very personal appeal to his father as the latter approaches death. He pleads with him not just to surrender to death but to fight death as long as possible. His plea also becomes universal as Thomas addresses also all other people approaching death, not to accept death as inevitable, but rather to fight against dying. Whether men have been strong

An Explication of Tennyson's 'Tithonus'

855 words - 3 pages , man grows more undesirable every day while losing his affectiveness. Tennyson, by using different figures of speech and imagery, shows the speakers desire for immortality. He also creates a thought that immortality is no more than cruelty consuming man. Through this idea, Tennyson shows the consequences that follow the desire for an extension of mortal time. In the first paragraph, the speaker describes the decay of living objects as time moves

Two poems for comparison by Seamus Heaney ("Churning day" and "An advancement of learning"). Describing the use of Imagery/viewpoint/atmosphere for comparison

2296 words - 9 pages The poet I will be focusing on in my essay is Seamus Heaney and his two poems I will be comparing are "Churning Day" and "An Advancement of learning". Heaney was born into a farming family from the north of Ireland in 1939. His poetry mainly seems to handle different themes of love, death, generation, and memories. They all hold a strong dramatic sense. Many of Heaney's early poems deal with his past childhood experiences and how he overcomes

Similar Essays

Gendered Identity In Seamus Heaney’s ‘Act Of Union’

585 words - 3 pages Gendered identity in Seamus Heaney’s ‘Act of Union’ In 1801, the political Act of Union created a legislative bond between Great Britain and Ireland, bringing Ireland under British control as part of the “United Kingdom”. Within the poem ‘Act of Union’ Heaney draws upon the double meaning of this titular phrase to compare the long lasting effect of this lawful union with an act of sexual domination. Within the work, Heaney anthropomorphizes

A Comparison Of Seamus Heaney's Mid Term Break And Digging

1889 words - 8 pages A Comparison of Seamus Heaney's Mid-Term Break and Digging I am comparing two poems by Seamus Heaney- `Mid-Term Break` and `Digging`. Both of the poems are written about his childhood and his family. The first poem I analysed was `Mid-Term Break`, where the simple and straight forward title `Break` caught my attention suggesting to me that this poem is going to be a positive experience, a break from work, a time to relax. The

By Close Analysis Of Funeral Rites, Explore Seamus Heaney’s Attitude To Death In North.

1203 words - 5 pages Heaney’s attitude towards death is presented in different perspectives within Funeral Rites. A pun, based on a homonym, embedded within the title itself, suggests one’s right to have a funeral : for there to be an occasion for family and friends to mourn one’s death whilst celebrating their life. In Funeral Rites, Heaney demonstrates the beautiful serenity associated with death, while also highlighting the tragic aspect of death and dying

Explore The Ways Seamus Heaney Presents Emotions And Experiences In “Digging” And “Death Of A Naturalist”

672 words - 3 pages a bottle”, as it shows that he cares about his well-being. In “Death of a Naturalist”, Heaney refers to a male frog as a “bullfrog”, this is quite mature language, so this shows an element of pride that he has learned this. Heaney’s relationship with “Miss Walls” is clearly a tentative one, this is shown when she tells her students about “the mammy and daddy frog” as she is evidently using immature language to avoid touching upon a taboo subject