Both Mending wall and Digging deal with an Aspect of Work in the Countryside. Compare and Contrast the poets’ feelings and attitudes to their subjects
The two poems ‘Mending Wall’ by Robert Frost and ‘Digging’ by Seamus Heaney were both written before violent incidents. ‘Mending Wall’ was published just before the First World War, where there was a huge amount of tension between countries and boundaries. ‘Digging’ was written before the Troubles, and this could have caused Heaney to write about history and stereotypes that have come around over the years. This has allowed him to break the family tradition and yet has managed to find a link with poetry and the farm labour.
Both of poems include actions of farm labour in the countryside. In ‘Mending Wall’, Frost has chosen to have an argument for and against the idea of boundaries, whereas Heaney has decided to ‘dig’ into his past for the answers to his questions.
During ‘Mending Wall’, the poet is starting to question this choice of rebuilding the ‘wall’. He is not happy at the end of the poem as the neighbour can only answer ‘Good fences make good neighbours’ and Frost feels that this argument is inadequate. However, on reading ‘Digging’, Heaney has informed the reader that he does not want to follow in his father’s footsteps, but wants advantage of the new ‘free education ‘available, which allowed him to become a poet.
Nowadays, tradition is still highly relevant, but there are still individuals who ‘strike out’ and ‘go against the trend’ of following the expected way of life that his father had done previously before him.
In both poems, there is a clear difference in poetic style and structure of the poems. In ‘Mending Wall’, there is only one long stanza, where the line length contains occasional gaps to the iambic pentameter rhythm of the poem. For example, in line 31 it says ‘where are the cows?’ which contains only four beats rather than the ‘usual’ ten beat lines.
These ‘gaps’ where the line length gets shorter could possibly show that there are ‘gaps’ in the structure of the wall. There is a natural feel to the poem as there is no rhyming scheme at all, which seems, in effect, to make the poem simple as to show that there is no need for a wall, and there is no connection to it and the reader. I feel that this creates a real sense of the poet distancing himself from the need for a wall as it seems to be more of a nuisance to him rather than a necessary boundary to the outside world. I also think that this is what Frost wants as to persuade the reader that the wall is pointless as ‘there are no cows’, and so there is no real ‘use’ for the wall except the problem of the useless task of fixing it every year.
In ‘Digging’, Heaney has chosen to separate his writing with the use of eight stanzas, splitting the lines up. At the beginning of the poem, it is clear that the poet is struggling to write, as shown by the verse length s being so short, and also the line ‘a squat pen...