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Growing Up Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 30 September 2017

Growing Up

The two poems I will be using are “FOLLOWER” and “DIGGING”. THe two poems say that at first, when you are young, you admire your father and constantly look up to them. However, eventually you see that it is highly unlikely that he can follow his father into jobs and so you want to become independent and do things yourself, without the need to look after your parents. At the beginning of “Follower”, he wants to be like his father; strong, powerful yet gentle, loving and a expert at his job.

These connote to the admiration shown by Heaney towards his father, this is shown in the poem by “The horse strained at his clicking tongue”, “An expert” and “Sometimes he rode me on his back dipping and rising to his plod. ” All of those examples combined implies that he is strong, in control, an expert with a horse-plough and he still has time for his son. He uses enjambament at the end of the second stanza, “with a single pluck of reins”, indicates it is in one swift movement, suggesting that he is entirely in control.

In addition, he compares his father to a ship with phrases and similes such as “his shoulders globed like a full sail strung… “, “dipping and rising” and “mapping the furrow”. These connote to the power, strength and degree of proficiency he has and uses with the horse-plough. In the fifth stanza he is still in admiration for his father, “I wanted to grow up and plough”, but realises that he will not be able to as he feel over burdened in expectations to be like his father and is constantly in his fathers shadow, “All I ever did was follow in his broad shadow around the farm. ”

At the end of the poem he is ambiguous as he loves his dad but wants him to go away as he is unable to tolerate his father being a nuisance, “But today it is my father who keeps stumbling behind me, and will not go away. ” The final five words, “and will not go away” inimates that he is showered with guilt as he no longer wants to be around his father and have such a close relationship anymore. In “Digging” he starts off watching his father digging in the flowerbeds from above, inside the house. This is reinforced by the phrase “Under my window” at the start of the second stanza.

The second line in the second stanza is memetic to the sound of digging, with the emphasis on the r’s, s’ and the g’s. The enjambament leading to the third stanza shows that these memories are extremely vivid as he changes from his father digging in the gravel to digging in the flowerbeds in one flowing movement. In comparison with “Follower” he signals admiration of fathers adeptness and uses many technical words to elevate the status of digging with phrases such as “The coarse boot nestled on the lug” and “the shaft against the inside knee was levered firmly.

” Also the second quote connotes a machine by using words like levered. He uses a couplet of lines as a pivot to change the focus of the poem from his father to his grandfather and uses the term “old man” to show affection for them. Similarly to his father he admires his grandfather and is almost lauding about his skill and efficiency by saying “My grandfather cut more turf in a day than any other man on Toner’s bog. ” In the penultimate verse he is depressed as he cannot follow in the family tradition literally, “I’ve no spade to follow men like them.

” In contrast to “Follower”, in the final stanza he decides to dig metaphorically with his pen, enabling him to follow his father, “Between my finger and thumb the squat pen rests. I’ll dig with it. ” In conclusion, there are many similarities between “Follower” and “Digging”, such as admiration, love and sadness and very few contrasts like in “Follower” he wants his dad to leave him alone, but in “Digging” he follows his fore-fathers metaphorically by digging with a pen instead of a spade.

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  • University/College: University of Chicago

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Date: 30 September 2017

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