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BY: BRETT OWINGS Seamus Heaney’s “Digging”. AUTHOR EXPLICATION LITERARY TERMS PERSONAL ANALYSIS CRITICAL ANALYSIS WORKS CITED Table of Contents.

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Presentation on theme: "BY: BRETT OWINGS Seamus Heaney’s “Digging”. AUTHOR EXPLICATION LITERARY TERMS PERSONAL ANALYSIS CRITICAL ANALYSIS WORKS CITED Table of Contents."— Presentation transcript:

1 BY: BRETT OWINGS Seamus Heaney’s “Digging”

2 AUTHOR EXPLICATION LITERARY TERMS PERSONAL ANALYSIS CRITICAL ANALYSIS WORKS CITED Table of Contents

3 BORN 1939 IN NORTHERN IRELAND DIGGING 1966 IN DEATH OF A NATURALIST SON OF CATTLE FARMERS FATHER’S FAMILY MORE RURAL WHILE HIS MOTHER’S FAMILY IS MORE INDUSTRIAL Seamus Heaney

4 Poem Stanza’s 1,2 &3 Explication Between my finger and my thumb The squat pen rests; snug as a gun Under my window, a clean rasping sound When the spade sinks into the gravely 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 At my desk I’m holding my pen tightly In a memory I hear someone digging outside my bedroom wind. It’s my father. Making synchronized holes in the ground for potatoes Digging (1966)

5 Stanza’s 4, 5, and 6 Explication 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 He used his legs to push up and down while digging. He buried the potatoes that we just pick. We loved the way they felt. My father was the best at what he did. He learned from my grandfather My grandfather cut grass faster than anyone else in town. I brought him a drink once and he took a sip. After that he went right back to work. Digging (1966)

6 Stanza’s 7, 8, & 9 Explication 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 rest. I’ll dig with it. Cutting the grass and throwing it over his shoulder. Going down in the soil to find a good spot for planting. The smell of potatoes brings me back. I’m not following in their footprints. Back at the desk with my pen. I’ll write my poems with it. Digging (1966)

7 Literary Terms Poem is free verse “Just like his old man.” (Enjambment) “Through living roots awaken in my head” (Connotation) “The cold smell of potato mould, the squelch and slap/ Of soggy peat, the curt cuts of an edge” (Imagery) “When the spade sinks into the gravelly ground.” (alliteration) The squat pen rests; snug as a gun.” (simile).

8 Personal Analysis Defense of his occupation: “Between my finger and my thumb/ The squat pen rests; snug as a gun” Taking Risks/ Going out on your own: “Between my finger and my thumb/ The squat pen rests/ I’ll dig with it.” Proud of heritage: “By God, the old man could handle a spade. Just like his old man.”

9 Critical Analysis “ As much as ‘Digging’ is about the gradual displacement of rural life, about a young writer’s experience of being torn between the lessons of his upbringing and the dictates of his formal education” (Meyer). “Heaney’s own poetry, this poem suggests, can become a new link in the seemingly broken chain of tradition that might connect the rural labor of the grandfather and father with the more intellectual and reflective work of the writer” (Miller). “ By analogy, he credits them with preparing the way for his kind of digging” (Rich).

10 Works Cited Google Images Heaney, Seamus. “Digging.” Death of a Naturalist. Ed. London: Faber and Faber, Meyer, Carolyn. “Critical Essay on ‘Digging’.” Poetry for Students. Ed. Mary Ruby. Vol. 5. Detroit: Gale Group, Literature Resource Center. Web. 16 Apr Miller, Tyrus. “Critical Essay on ‘Digging’.” Poetry for Students. Ed. Mary Ruby. Vol. 5. Detroit: Gale Group, Literature Resource Center. Web. 21 Apr Rich, Morton D. “Critical Essay on ‘Digging’.” Poetry for Students. Ed. Mary Ruby. Vol. 5. Detroit: Gale Group, Literature Resource Center. Web. 16 Apr "Seamus Heaney - Biography". Nobelprize.org. 1 May bio.html


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