Follower by Seamus Heaney

Notes about Follower by Seamus Heaney

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  • Created by: Hannah
  • Created on: 18-04-11 16:38
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Main Ideas
How children look up to their fathers, aspire to be like them, but mostly just get in the way,
yet how this role reverses as father gets old, and follows son getting in the way
Parent and child roles
Aging, and how this affects who you are
Admiration of his father and how powerful he is
Confusion at how the role have changed
Frustrated with his father, and that it is the wrong way round
Six equal stanzas of four lines each- set pattern, like there is a set pattern of aging and
changing roles and dependency (six quatrains)
ABAB rhyme pattern also sets pattern and regularity
Four metric feet per line, almost iambic, which sounds loving, and with rhyme gives nursery
rhyme sound, suggestive that this is a traditional tale with a moral, and tells about life as it
always has been
Caesura after "an expert" highlights how careful and accurate his father was
Rural language, such as "shafts", "wing", ""sock", "sod"
Language connoting to accuracy, such as "narrowed", "angled", "mapping", like vocabulary
which might be used by a cartographer, could suggest how he knew the land well, as well as
how skilled his job was
In last line word "Behind" invites reader to look back at poem again, and think of his
childhood following his father again
"Stumbling/Behind" uses enjambment to suggest his falling behind
Extended metaphors of sailing, suggesting the power of his father, but also the idea of
working with nature. Also gives imagery of ship moving smoothly and with ease over water,
which is normally hard to cross, yet for a powerful ship appears effortless.
Present participles. Giving idea of immediacy,


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