How Do Heaney's Words Show What Country Life Was Like And How Effective Are The Images He Produces

1511 words - 6 pages

In "Follower", Heaney uses words such as "globed" and "strained". These are words which show that life in the country is difficult and that the work involved can be strenuous. They do however, produce good images about the country, because "globed like a full sail strung" conjures up many ideas of the hard work involved in life on the farm, and "strained at his clicking tongue" not only shows the difficult job of the horses, but through the effective image produced, it shows the reader how skilled Heaney's father is.Other words which show the skill involved in country life include "expert", "without breaking" and "exactly". These all show the reader what an accomplished farmer Heaney's father is, but they also have another use. They show us what country life is like, as mentioned previously, by illustrating how much skill goes into a seemingly mundane task such as ploughing a field, but they also produce very effective images. "The sod rolled over without breaking" not only illustrates skill in the country, but also beauty. The idea of freshly ploughed soil, perfectly formed adds to the readers perception of the country as a beautiful place, and so country life is also portrayed as very happy.However, despite these nice images, Heaney also uses such words as "sweating" and "stumbled" alongside them. This means that he wants to show country life from both angles and explain to the reader that while it may look nice and the visual rewards may be great, it takes a lot of effort to get to that stage in the first place. The images which he uses to show this are effective because "the sweating team" can be pictured by the reader as man and horse working together in harmony to produce a perfect field, but the effort and will-power needed to do it are great.Another aspect of country life is expressed by Heaney in his words like "grow up and plough" and "follow in his broad shadow" . This aspect refers to the bonds between people, and in this case, they are great. Heaney wanted to grow up and plough like his father, and so we can extract from this that country life was fun at times, but it was really about families, because it can get lonely on a farm in the middle of nowhere. The images in these lines, such as "stumbled in his hob-nailed wake" can be seen by the reader as quite funny, but they also give them an idea of the life in the country, where the children tend to grow up and follow in their father's footsteps. However, here, it is clear to see that Heaney is not just describing any father-son relationship, but a very special one, and Heaney is seen to be very much in awe of his father, "All I ever did was follow...". This serves to illustrate more the skill of the father because later on in the poem, Heaney says that "I was a nuisance, tripping, falling, yapping always" and for the father to produce such perfect work in the face of provocation shows the reader that, through the image of a small boy tagging along, country life can be very trying at...

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