Digging Seamus Heaney Analysis

1320 Words 6 Pages
Bloomquist 1
Sarah Bloomquist
AP Literature
Poetry of the Week Questions
In what sense does the poem offer suggestions for approaching poetry? What advice does the speaker provide in lines 1-11?
The poem recommends that people read poetry with an open mind and that they should be able to come to their own conclusions about a poem without outside pressure or views. In other words, the poem advocates for personal interpretations rather than an outside one imposing on individuals. This thinking is seen in lines 1-11 in which the author illustrates how people should be left alone to decipher the meaning of a poem and use their opinions to frame it. He advocates for readers reading poems to read the without outside influence
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How does the title inform the larger meaning of the work as a whole?
The title of Heaney’s poem, “Digging”, has multiple meanings. Literally, Heaney is telling the story of his father and grandfather’s occupation of digging soil. On a more complex level, Heaney is expressing that through poetry he is looking for a better and more meaningful occupation that the monotonous job his family has so long held. The title shows that Heaney’s journey is a process and that he is on a journey.
How does the poet’s use of language reveal something about relationships in the poem?
The author’s lack of personal information and rather him conveying the monotony of his Father and Grandfather’s digging shows the absence of a personal relationship with his Father/Grandfather. Heaney solely talks about their work, and the process of them doing it which hints to the reader that the two men were always digging. This is seen most clearly in the personal interaction Heaney has with his digging Grandfather in beginning of the sixth stanza. In this stanza, a young Heaney offers his grandfather a drink only to find him return to his work. Heaney is able to make a statement that the two men are slaves to their work which makes his profession as a writer a vehicle for escaping this
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Elaborate on its meaning.
Frost often uses symbolism to convey elements of life. Frost uses the two roads to symbolize career paths or life decisions in general. Frost also uses the crinkle of the leaves and the fact that you cannot uncrush leaves to convey that once a major decision is made, one cannot go back. By using this symbolism, Frost is able to convey the confusion and regret that comes with making big decisions, but do so at a smaller and more relatable scale for the reader.
Discuss the poet’s use of the pastoral as a vehicle to discuss his themes and overall meaning of the work?
The poet, Frost, uses the pastoral as a vehicle to discuss the span of life and show the perspective he now holds after making this decision. Frost is able to tell the story and then reflect on how his highly debated decision was actually favorable for him in the future, as seen in line 20, “And that has made all the difference”. By doing so, Frost is able to show on a larger scale that one may not know they are making the right decision - hesitation conveyed in lines 11-15 - until many years later - “ages and ages

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