Digging (Seamus Heaney poem)

Love of Land in Seamus Heaney's Digging 10th Grade

In Seamus Heaney’s short autobiographical poem, Digging. Heaney describes his strong feeling towards the land on which he grew up on and the role that he and his relatives played on it, but also his untraditional choice to write rather than dig. He grew up on a farm and the family of ten (Heaney being the oldest of eight) was supported by the father who sold cattle and dug soil for a living. The poem enables a reader to understand how Heaney felt towards his father and grandfather, the land that has supported them, and the act of digging or working the farm. It also describes how Heaney doesn’t want to follow the same path as they did and instead will metaphorically use his pen to dig. This is evident in the different use of tense, the use of a very significant metaphor; and very vivid imagery used to create contrast between the spade and the pen.

Through the structure and tense of the poem, Heaney’s strong feelings towards the land and the work of his father and grandfather are quite apparent. The poem begins in a reflective mood in present tense and features Heaney looking out of his window, watching his father dig. Then the poem switches into past tense. This emphasizes Heaney’s strong feelings towards the land and the work...

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