Analysis of Heaney's Poems

Looking at the structure and techniques used by Heaney. Includes At a potato digging, digging, storm on the island, Death of a naturalist, Follower and Mid Term Break.

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  • Created by: Sam
  • Created on: 23-05-11 13:11
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Poem Key Techniques Structure
Storm on Enjambment Show how the storm is constant. It has a blank verse I with 5
the Island Reaches crescendo line 710 to show strongest bit of storm. beats a line to make it seem
Oxymoron"exploding comfortably" to show the power of thethat Heaney is talking to the
storm as it is effortless. reader.
Informal "You might think" talks to and involves the reader.
Death of a Metaphor of the frogs like a military "mud grenades". 2 stanzas 1st shows love of
Naturalist Assonance and alliteration create sounds and adds emotion the frogs, 2nd shows
Onomatopoeia creates imagery but adds a childish sound as disgustingness.
difficulty in finding words.
Enjambment shows excitement then fear.
Digging Repetition The last stanza repeats the first stanza. This creates
9 irregular stanzas to show
the effect of Heaney coming back to the present day and how diving into memories and
he has discovered his past. suddenly finding a new
Language Uses precise words to describe his father digging to memory that was previously
show how precise his father was. lost in his memory.
Metaphors Between his ancestors digging and his writing.
"Nicking" a pen while writing and digging. Also Heaney relates
back by "digging" with his pen into feelings and his heritage.
Mid Term Alliteration of the "c" sound shows the harshness of the events. 7 regular stanzas of 3 lines
Break Enjambment he finds it hard to cope followed by 1 of 1 line.
Assonance of "a" sound shows the abrupt end to his brother's The short final stanza shows
life. the shock of seeing his dead
The short lines in the last 3 stanzas show how the reality of his
brothers death sinks in.
Follower Language showing the expertise of his father such as "exactly" The use of 6 equal stanzas
and "angled" and how Heaney idolises him. shows the unchangeable
Rhyme shows the regularity. It shows the change in regularity pattern of ageing.
by using a weak rhyme scheme.
Metaphor A metaphor of sailing, "wake" and "full sail" show
that his father is on par with nature and knows how to use it.
At a Assonance "o" sound in stanza 5 shows link between the Split into four sections
Potato potatoes and the ground. 1st modern potato digging
Digging Language often refers to death and how the potato famine 2nd description of potatoes
killed lots of people "higgledy skeletons". 3rd Great potato famine
Language also shows the desperation of the people in the 4th Modern lunch break
famine as they "wolfed" the potatoes.
Rhyme in sections 1 and 4 shows the regularity of getting good
potatoes in the modern time. This contrasts to the different
weak rhyme scheme in section 3 where the crop of good
potatoes is uncertain.


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