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F/H Digging by Seamus Heaney Link to Bitesize video on slide 4.

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Presentation on theme: "F/H Digging by Seamus Heaney Link to Bitesize video on slide 4."— Presentation transcript:

1 F/H Digging by Seamus Heaney Link to Bitesize video on slide 4

2 F/H The poem Themes/ideas Man’s relationship with nature Parent/Child relationship Nature Key terms: Metaphor Symbolism Onomatopoeia Enjambment Alliteration Sibilance Repetition

3 F/H Between my finger and my thumb The squat pen rests; as 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 could 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, digging down and down For the good turf. Digging. The cold smell of potato mold, 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. potato drills (line 8) parallel ridges in the earth for growing potatoes lug (line 10) the flattened top edge of the spade blade, against which the digger pushes with his foot Heaney sees his father, an old man, digging the flowerbeds. He remembers how his younger, stronger father used to dig in the potato fields when Heaney was a child - and how his grandfather, before that, was an expert turf digger. Nine stanzas of varying length; this could reflect the unpredictable nature of memories as the come back to the poet

4 F/H Between my finger and my thumb The squat pen rests; as 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. Digging There is more than one possible meaning to this title. What are they? Physical digging of the father and grandfather Heaney’s ‘digging’ into the past (memories) Heaney mixes tenses to emphasise the act of remembering Present tense, immediacy Past tense until the last two stanzas as Heaney ‘digs’ back into the memory This stanza marks the start of his reminiscence and he describes it visually, mixing tenses 5 10 Enjambment between stanza 1 and 2 shows his mind ‘running’ into the memory Sibilant ‘s’ sounds suggest the slicing of the spade whilst the alliterative ‘g’s suggest the resistance of the ground

5 F/H Between my finger and my thumb The squat pen rests; as 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. Digging Heaney remembers helping his father when he dug potatoes. It evokes an image of a young Heaney closely watching his father at work. Possibly with the childlike admiration that seems to be in this poem This attention to his father allows him to describe the process in detail Fits in his hand and is powerful, much like the spade of his father’s Heaney describes his holding of the pen in similar detail to his father holding the shovel. Why? The poet looks down on his father; this contrasts with the later image of him ‘looking up’ to him as a child. What does this suggest about heir relationship Emphasise his father’s skill and connection with the land and the work

6 F/H By God, the old man could handle a spade, Just like his old man. My grandfather could 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, digging down and down For the good turf. Digging Simple explanation of how he admires his father. Could it be tinged with regret that his father is no longer the powerful man he was? Heaney metaphorically digs further into the past The repeated phrase could give a sense of the loving bond shared across the generations Heaney’s pride extends to his grandfather too. He was strong and skilled and hard-working and once again, Heaney helped him

7 F/H The cold smell of potato mold, 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 Onomatopoeia forces the reader to share in the vividity of the memory As do the other appeals to the senses throughout the poem Alliterative ‘c’ sounds emphasise the neatness of the cuts his grandfather made What are the meanings of ‘living roots’ and how can they awaken in Heaney’s head? Why does he have ‘no spade’? Change of culture meaning he’s not required to dig? Does he regret not having the spade? Does he feel as if his father and grandfather would be disappointed in him?

8 F/H The cold smell of potato mold, 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 Repetition of the opening stanza without the gun simile What is the significance of this decision? Heaney’s pen now becomes a spade with which he will explore his past in the same way as he has in this poem This is a return to his roots, in a sense Return to the present tense and then into the future at the end. Emphasising Heaney’s determination What is the effect of the repetition of ‘digging’ and ‘dig’ throughout the poem?

9 F/H Comparisons Song of the Old Mother Both poems deal with the relationship between generations, and both describe hard, physical work But the Old Mother is bitter about the drudgery which she must do; while Heaney's poem celebrates the work as creative. Catrin Both poems are intensely personal Both poems deal with the bonds between the generations - in Clarke's poem a mother addresses her child, while in Heaney's a son talks about his father and grandfather. What other comparisons are there?

10 F/H Review How does the poem explore ideas of heritage and family tradition? What does the poem suggest about physical labour? Explain in your own words the image in the last line of the poem. What is Heaney’s relationship with nature? Should this poem be read with pride, regret or sorrow? Find quotations to prove all three possibilities.


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