The themes shown in both poems show similar elements of education, pride, relationships, and respect. In “Digging” the element of pride is evident in the quote “My grandfather cut more turf in a day than any man on Toner’s bog.” When he expresses this pride, it shows that he has clear affection for his grandfather, as takes pride for his actions. Another quote which shows the strong bond between grandson and grandfather is “I carried him milk in 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. (The subject being sexual reproduction) This somewhat patronises Heaney and his classmates, However, she may be doing this simply to preserve the children’s innocence. She has succeeded in preserving their innocence, due to there being no more significance attached to the frogs’ sexual processes, than to the thought that they may represent the weather; “For they were yellow in sun and brown in rain”.
In “Digging” It is also clear that he idolises both his father and his grandfather, “I’ve no spade to follow men like them” proves this. This could also be Heaney self-deprecating himself, as he could be saying that he wasn’t capable of doing his father’s and grandfather’s job.
“Death of a Naturalist” depicts a group of frogs “taking their vengeance” upon Heaney. This may not be physically, but they may be killing the naturalist inside of him. This “vengeance” may have been taken because Heaney had taken the frogspawn, and therefore destroyed the frog’s sense of family, the importance of which is demonstrated in “Digging”.
“Digging” both opens and...