Digging

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I don't really understand the message conveyed by the poet in this one. Help :(

Posted: 16-03-10 20:22 by Chloe

Hey... which poem are you talkin about??

Posted: 17-03-10 19:20 by Alina

Digging portrays how this boy cannot meat up to the expectations he is expected to reach - his father and grandfather were previously diggers despite the fact, that he is a poet he wishes that he became a digger so he would continue the generations of digging and he feels neglected because he is not a digger - like he has failed at becoming a good role model to his children because he was not a digger.

Posted: 24-03-11 18:01 by Rebecca

But at the end of the poem he also sees that he can still live up to the legacy of digging left behind by his dad and grandaddy as he says he will dig with his pen (something like that...) :)

Posted: 31-03-11 22:56 by Zoeeee

YH ONLY TING I KNO BOUT DIGGIN IZ FO BURYIN BAD MANZ FROM PECKHAM CAMDEN N EAST HAM YEAHYEAH E8 HACKNEY BAD BOYZZ

Posted: 01-04-11 10:13 by E8 HACKNEY MOUNTFORD ESTATE

This poem is like Follower, as it shows how the young Heaney looked up to his elders - in this case both father and grandfather.

Seeing his father (now old) “straining” to dig “flowerbeds”, the poet recalls him in his prime, digging “potato drills”. And even earlier, he remembers his grandfather, digging peat. He cannot match “men like them” with a spade, but he sees that the pen is (for him) mightier, and with it he will dig into his past and celebrate them.

Heaney challenges the stereotype of Paddy with a spade. The stereotype contains some truth - Irishmen are justifiably well known for digging, but Heaney shows the skill and dignity in their labour. We see also see their sense of the work ethic - the father still digs in old age, the grandfather, when he was working, would barely stop to drink.

Note: the pen is “snug as a gun” because it fits his hand and is powerful. Heaney is from County Derry (Northern Ireland) but the poem was published in 1966, before the “troubles”, and this is not a reference to them.

This poem has a looser structure than Follower and looks at two memories - the father digging the potato drills, the grandfather digging turf, for which he was famous as the best digger on the peat bog. The poet celebrates not so much their strength as their expertise. The digger's technique is exactly explained (“The coarse boot nestled on the lug...”). Each man dug up what has real value

·         Food - “new potatoes”, and

·         Fuel - “the good turf”.

Again there are

·         Technical terms (“lug”, “shaft”) and

·         Monosyllabic (“bog”, “sods”, “curt cuts”) or

·         Colloquial terms: “By God, the old man could handle a spade.”

The onomatopoeia (where the sound resembles or suggests meaning) is obvious in “rasping”, “gravelly”, “sloppily”, “squelch” and “slap”.

There is a central extended metaphor of digging and roots, which shows how the poet, in his writing, is getting back to his own roots (his identity, and where his family comes from). The poem begins almost as it ends, but only at the end is the writer's pen seen as a weapon for digging.

 

 

Posted: 11-04-11 12:06 by javeria bibi