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Digging by Seamus Heaney

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Jordain Formaneck

on 10 October 2013

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Transcript of Digging by Seamus Heaney

The theme of the story is about respecting your heritage but finding your own path. We believe that the theme is about respecting your heritage because the narrator is very respectful and quite possibly proud of how hard his father and grandfather worked. We also think it's about finding your own path because he decides he will follow in their footsteps of being a hard worker but will work with the pen and not the spade.
What does enjambment mean?
The tone
The tone of the poem is contemplative and respectful.
A clear connection to the Modern Era.
The poem structure is modern. It is in free verse and it doesn't have a consistent rhyme theme. It also contains much imagery like "Corked sloppily with paper." and "When the spade sinks into gravelly ground...". The poem is emotional as well, another thing common in modern poems.
A general question
Are you expected to continue your family legacy?
Seamus Heany was born in 1939 in Protestant Northern Ireland. His parents were Roman Catholic. He would earn his education as a scholarship student going to a Roman Catholic school in Belfast. Before going to Queens University in Belfast he would be appointed as a lecturer. Heany was awarded the Nobel Peace for literature in 1995. He died on August 30, 2013. The poem "Digging" leads the poem collection, "Death of a Naturalist".
Between my finger and thumb
The squat pen rests; snug as a gun.

Under my window, a clean rasping sound
When the spade sinks into gravelly ground:
My father, digging. I look down

Till his straining rump among the flowerbeds
Bends low, comes up twenty years away
Stooping in rhythm through potato drills
Where he was digging.

The coarse boot nestled on the lug, the shaft
Against the inside knee was levered firmly.
He rooted out tall tops, buried the bright edge deep
To scatter new potatoes that we picked,
Loving their cool hardness in our hands.

By God, the old man could handle a spade.
Just like his old man.

My grandfather cut more turf in a day
Than any other man on Toner's bog.
Once I carried him milk in a bottle
Corked sloppily with paper. He straightened up
To drink it, then fell to right away
Nicking and slicing neatly, heaving sods

Over his shoulder, going down and down
For the good turf. Digging.

The cold smell of potato mould, the squelch and slap
Of soggy peat, the curt cuts of an edge
Through living roots awaken in my head.
But I've no spade to follow men like them.

Between my finger and my thumb
The squat pen rests.
I'll dig with it.
We think it is contemplative because he is thinking back on his father and grandfather digging. We also think it is respectful because he is proud of how his father and grandfather worked hard.
"By God, the old man could handle a spade. Just like his old man."
"Through living roots awaken in my head."
Poetic Devices
- "The squat pin rests; snug as a gun"
Enjambments(no periods)
-"Under my window, a clean rasping sound
When the spade sinks into gravelly ground:"
- digging & between my finger and thumb
-pen to gun
- squelch, slap, soggy
- smell/squelch; grasping/gravelly
Flash back
-"Till his straining rump among the flowerbeds
Bends low, comes up twenty years away"

What was Heaney awarded in 1995?
What did Heaney's dad and grandfather dig?
By: Seamus Heaney

By: Kristi Krogh
Leah Peretz
Jon Albers
Jordain Formaneck
Full transcript