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Lit Paper 2: Love and Relationships: Follower and The Farmer's Bride

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Paul Hanson

on 8 April 2018

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Transcript of Lit Paper 2: Love and Relationships: Follower and The Farmer's Bride

Literature Paper Two: Love and Relationships Poetry: 'Follower' and 'The Farmer's Bride'
'Follower' by Seamus Heaney
My father worked with a horse-plough,
His shoulders globed like a full sail strung
Between the shafts and the furrow.
The horse strained at his clicking tongue.

An expert. He would set the wing
And fit the bright steel-pointed sock.
The sod rolled over without breaking.
At the headrig, with a single pluck

Of reins, the sweating team turned round
And back into the land. His eye
Narrowed and angled at the ground,
Mapping the furrow exactly.
Synopsis
The voice in the poem describes following his father as he ploughed a field in rural Ireland.

He looked up to his father and wanted to literally and figuratively follow in his footsteps.

However, he reflects that he was more of a 'nuisance', weak and in the way.

Finally, the time jumps to the present, where it is the father that is now old, weak and a 'nuisance'.
Growing up/growing older
Parent/child relationships
Admiration
Strength
Identity
The poem is autobiographical:
Heaney grew up in rural Ireland
He never became a farmer but rather a 'soft' poet instead
Much of his poetry was about life in rural settings
AO3 Context
The relationship in 'The Farmer's Bride' ('TFB') is one-sided: farmer lusts after his young wife but she doesn't return his desire.

Which of the following poems about love would be the best to pair with 'TFB'?
'When We Two Parted'
'Love's Philosophy'
'Porphyria's Lover'
'Sonnet 29'

'Letters from Yorkshire'
'Winter Swans'
'Singh Song!'
Three summers since I chose a maid,
Too young maybe—but more’s to do
At harvest-time than bide and woo.
When us was wed she turned afraid
Of love and me and all things human;
Like the shut of a winter’s day
Her smile went out, and ’twadn’t a woman—
More like a little frightened fay.
One night, in the Fall, she runned away.

“Out ’mong the sheep, her be,” they said,
’Should properly have been abed;
But sure enough she wadn’t there
Lying awake with her wide brown stare.
So over seven-acre field and up-along across the down
We chased her, flying like a hare
Before out lanterns. To Church-Town
All in a shiver and a scare
We caught her, fetched her home at last
And turned the key upon her, fast.
She does the work about the house
As well as most, but like a mouse:
Happy enough to chat and play
With birds and rabbits and such as they,
So long as men-folk keep away.
“Not near, not near!” her eyes beseech
When one of us comes within reach.
The women say that beasts in stall
Look round like children at her call.
I’ve hardly heard her speak at all.

Shy as a leveret, swift as he,
Straight and slight as a young larch tree,
Sweet as the first wild violets, she,
To her wild self. But what to me?

The short days shorten and the oaks are brown,
The blue smoke rises to the low grey sky,
One leaf in the still air falls slowly down,
A magpie’s spotted feathers lie
On the black earth spread white with rime,
The berries redden up to Christmas-time.
What’s Christmas-time without there be
Some other in the house than we!

She sleeps up in the attic there
Alone, poor maid. ’Tis but a stair
Betwixt us. Oh! my God! the down,
The soft young down of her, the brown,
The brown of her—her eyes, her hair, her hair!
Three summers since I chose a maid,

Too young maybe
—but
more’s to do
At harvest-time than bide and woo
.
When us was wed she turned afraid
Of love and me and all things human;

Like the shut of a winter’s day
Her smile went out
, and ’twadn’t a woman—

More like a little frightened fay
.
One night, in the Fall, she runned away.

“Out ’mong the sheep, her be,” they said,
’Should properly have been
abed
;
But sure enough she wadn’t there

Lying awake
with her wide brown stare.
So over seven-acre field and up-along across the down
We chased her,
flying like a hare
Before out lanterns. To Church-Town
All in a shiver and a scare
We caught her, fetched her home at last
And turned the key upon her, fast.

She does the work about the house
As well as most, but
like a mouse
:
Happy enough to chat and play
With birds and rabbits and such as they,
So long as men-folk keep away.

“Not near, not near!” her eyes beseech
When one of us comes within reach.
The women say that beasts in stall
Look round like children at her call.
I’ve hardly heard her speak at all.
Shy as a leveret
, swift as he,

Straight and slight as a young larch tree,
Sweet as the first wild violets, she,
To her wild self. But what to me?

The short days shorten and the oaks are brown,
The blue smoke rises to the low grey sky,
One leaf in the still air falls slowly down,
A magpie’s spotted feathers lie
On the black earth spread white with rime,
The berries redden up to Christmas-time.
What’s Christmas-time without there be
Some other in the house than we!


She sleeps up in the attic
there

Alone, poor maid
.
’Tis but a stair
Betwixt us.
Oh! my God! the down,
The soft young down of her, the brown,
The brown of her—her eyes, her hair, her hair!
AO1: Hadn't taken the time to woo her.
AO1 & 2: imagery of her in bed that teases and torments the voice.
AO1 and 2: images, mostly nature similes, of her rejection of him, and all men.
AO1 and 2: sensual images of her physical appearance and his physical desire.
Use the grid to make connections between 'Follower' and 'The Farmer's Bride'.
Comparison
I stumbled in his hob-nailed wake,
Fell sometimes on the polished sod;
Sometimes he rode me on his back
Dipping and rising to his plod.

I wanted to grow up and plough,
To close one eye, stiffen my arm.
All I ever did was follow
In his broad shadow round the farm.

I was a nuisance, tripping, falling,
Yapping always. But today
It is my father who keeps stumbling
Behind me, and will not go away.
Key Themes
Stanza One
My father worked with a horse-plough,
His shoulders globed
like a full sail strung
Between the shafts and the furrow.
The
horse strained
at his
clicking tongue
.
Stanza Two
An expert
.
He would set the wing
And fit the bright steel-pointed sock
.
The sod rolled over without breaking
.
At the headrig, with
a single pluck

Stanza Three
Of reins,
the sweating team
turned round
And back into the land.
His eye
Narrowed and angled at the ground,
Mapping the furrow exactly
.
Imagery of hard manual labour in rural setting. (AO1 and AO2)
Maritime imagery to show power of father in his prime. (AO1 and AO2)
The onomatopoeia emphasises the father's skill with the mighty horse. (AO1 and AO2)
Atlas: classical allusion. (AO1 and AO2)
The verb 'strained' contrasts with the ease of the father's clicking. (AO1 and AO2)
Minor sentence: the voice's admiration for his father. (AO1 and AO2)

Vivid, strong rural imagery that conveys the father's expertise. (AO1)

Rural imagery of the father's masterful use of the plough. (AO1)

Again, the father can manage the horse and plough with simple movements. (AO1)

Yet more imagery of the father's expertise and the son's admiration for him. (AO1 and AO2)
The contrast between the struggling horses and the father continues. (AO1 and AO2)
Stanza Four
I stumbled
in his
hob-nailed

wake
,
Fell sometimes
on the polished
sod
;
Sometimes he rode me on his back
Dipping and rising
to his
plod
.
Stanza Five
I wanted to grow up and plough
,
To close one eye, stiffen my arm.
All I ever did was follow
In his broad shadow round the farm.

Stanza Six
I was a nuisance,
tripping, falling,
Yapping
always. But
today
It is my father who keeps stumbling
Behind me, and will not go away.
The focus shifts to the voice themselves. The voice wants to follow in his father's footsteps but feels inadequate. (AO1 and AO2)
Imagery conveys the strength of the father and the close bond between them. (AO1)
The maritime imagery continues: the father is like a mighty sailing ship to the boy. (AO1)
Tough, masculine imagery. (AO2)
The alternate rhyme reinforces the father's steady rhythm but also the rhythm of life. It also contrast the son and father. (AO2)
The voice reflects that he wanted to follow in his father's footsteps. (AO1)
Imagery to express how he never feels adequate up against his father. (AO2)
The tricolon of verbs reinforces his sense of inadequacy. (AO2)
Volta: the voice's feelings towards his father have gone. Ironically, he reflects that it is his father who is now the 'nuisance.' The cycle of life continues. Or, the father is dead but the 'broad shadow' of his memory follows the voice through life. (AO1 and AO2)
'The Farmer's Bride' by Charlotte Mew
Form: six stanzas, in mostly alternate rhyme.
Form
The poem is a
dramatic monologue
, a poem in the form of speech where the speaker recounts a narrative.
The poem is written in
iambic tetrameter
(four weak/strong stresses per line), which looks like this.


'Three Summers since I chose a maid,'

Mew uses very strong rhyme schemes (S! follows a-b-b-a-c-d-c-d-d). Annotate the entire rhyme scheme now.
Structure
Stanza One: we are told of the marriage, that the bride isn't happy and that she runs away.
Stanza Two: she was hunted, like an animal, caught and locked up.
Stanza Three: the farmer describes how she is affectionate with the animals but not to him.
Stanza Four: he describes how beautiful she is.
Stanza Five: he feels cold as winter sets in and is sad that the house should be joyful and full of children.
Stanza Six: he is frustrated that she is so near yet he cannot be with her.
Language
There are various language features employed; they include:
colloquial speech
animal imagery
wild and hunt imagery
metaphors and similes
slow decay imagery
physical descriptions

Now, with your shoulder partner, try to find examples of each, annotating your anthology as you go.
Themes and Ideas
Arranged marriages
Desire, marriage and unrequited love
Freedom, choice and the constraint of both

Extension Questions
How far do you blame the farmer for his wife's attitude?
To what extent would you describe the poem as a love poem?
How does the poet use the different seasons to describe the relationship?
Can you write the ending of this story? What do you think happens to them both?
'The Farmer's Bride' by Charlotte Mew
Tone
The farmer is clearly sad and frustrated by his wife's rejection of him. Can you find evidence of this?
AO3: Context
Charlotte Mary Mew (15 November 1869 – 24 March 1928) was an English poet, whose work spans the cusp between Victorian poetry and Modernism.
She never married because mental illness ran through her family.
She dressed like a man and some historians claim that she was attracted to women, although there is little evidence of this.
'Like the shut of a winter’s day/Her smile went out'
'Like a little frightened fay'
'Lying awake with her wide brown stare'
'“Not near, not near!” her eyes beseech'
'shy as a leveret'
'We chased her, flying like a hare'
'Oh! my God! the down,
The soft young down of her, the brown,
The brown of her—her eyes, her hair, her hair!'
'Straight and slight as a young larch tree,
Sweet as the first wild violets, she'
'She sleeps up in the attic there
Alone, poor maid. ’Tis but a stair
Betwixt us.'
Full transcript