Follower by Seamus Heaney

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Stanza 1

  • 'worked' - past tense -> labour and control
  • 'like a full sail strung' - simile, sibilance, his father's shirt, gives image of muscle and strength, suggests that the man is powerful and large
  • Images of the sea -> skill of a sailor and smooth progress of a ship
  • First and third line are half-rhymes
  • Second and fourth lines are full-rhymes
  • Syllable count - 8.9.8.8
  • Rhyme scheme - ABAB
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Stanza 2

  • 'An expert.' - caesura, admiration for his skill, presented as a fact -> no argument
  • 'headrig' - technical language suggests how long Heaney followed his father for
  • First and third lines are full rhymes
  • Second and fourth lines are half rhymes
  • Syllable count - 8.8.9.9
  • Rhyme scheme - CDCD
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Stanza 3

  • 'sweating' - present participle -> urgency, emjambement at end of line suggests a flowing movement of the work
  • 'exactly' - precision and skill
  • First and third lines are full rhymes
  • Second and fourth lines are half rhymes
  • Syllable count - 8.8.8.8
  • Rhyme scheme - EFEF
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Stanza 4

  • 'stumbled' - not skilled or old enough
  • 'hob-nailed wake' - sturdy boots, wake ->parting at the back of a boat/ship
  • 'polished sod' - almost a burden to his father's work, emphasises the precision and care of his father
  • First and third lines are half rhymes
  • Second and fourth lines are full rhymes
  • Syllable count - 8.8.8.8
  • Rhyme scheme - GHGH
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Stanza 5

  • 'I wanted to grow up and plough' - father is his role model, insiprational, wanted to follow in his footsteps, past tense suggests that he no longer wants to be like his father
  • First and third lines are half rhymes
  • Second and fourth lines are full rhymes
  • Syllable count - 8.8.8.8
  • Rhyme scheme - IJIJ
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Stanza 6

  • '.' - caesura forces reader to dwell on Heaneys view of his father as well as himself when he was young
  • 'But today' - change of tone as well as a change of tense to the present tense
  • 'who keeps stumbling' - perhaps both physically and metaphorically stumbling now that he is old
  • 'will not go away' - implies that he wants his father to go away and stop being dependent on him, roles are now reversed, memory has soured
  • Rhyme stumbles to emphasise this
  • First and third lines are half rhymes
  • Second and fourth lines are full rhymes
  • Syllable count - 9.7.10.9
  • Rhyme scheme - KLKL
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Whole Poem

  • Mainlt tetrameter (4 stressed, 4 unstressed beats)
  • Title is ambiguous
  • Title may have a literal and metaphorical meaning
  • Images of the sea throughout
  • Always a full rhyme and a half rhyme in each stanza
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