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Digging IOC notes 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 pickede 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 Toners 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 Ive no spade to follow men like them. Between my finger and my thumb The squat pen rests. Ill dig with it. - from Death of a Naturalist (1966) 1. The poem I will be commenting on today is Digging by Seamus Heaney. 2. Heaney is an Irish poet and his poems encompass political affairs as well as his personal life experiences. This particular poem is more personal than political because it is written in first person. This allows the readers to understand the speakers perspective. However the metaphor quote The squat pen rests; snug as a gun is a reminder of the political problems of Ireland faced in the past.

3. Digging is a significant poem for the poet because he justifies why he wanted to become a writer instead of following the family tradition of becoming a labourer. 4. Summary: Poet writes at desk, looks out window, sees father digging and describes the process involved. This reminds him of his grandfather, how he had a reputation of being an expert in handling a spade. We are then brought back to Heaney writing at his desk, ending poem by stating how he too would dig in his own way through writing. 5. Structuring IOC (I will be talking about This part is basically up to you) [Please take note to remember: (S)etting (C)haracter (A)ction (S)tyle{lang,lit} (I)deas {themes}] For me, I have a focus and how I will explain it. Focus: A. Process of digging potatoes - Heaney uses plenty of phonology and verbs to portray this. B. Relationship with father and admiration for grandfather - By looking at the use of structure and choice of diction. C. Heaneys intentions A. Process of digging potatoes (Action, style, setting, themes, motifs) Point1: Digging is a continuous process. - Evidence1: [Style-rhyming, onomatopoeia stanza 2, first two lines] Sound and ground. - Explain1: Phonology echos repetitiveness of the motion involved. - Evidence2: Stanza 3 Stooping in rhythm - Explain2: It just supports point. Motion is monotonous. - Evidence3: Repetition of Digging stanzas 2 and 3. - Explain3: Reinforces repetitiveness using same diction. (Evidence1,2,3 is about father) - Evidence4: [Style-use of language, phonology] verbs - nicking, slicing, heaving, going, digging ing sound is repeated - Explain4: Do I have to?? (Evidence4 - grandfather) Point2: Heaney uses [style] alliteration + phonology to give the readers an image to work with. - Evidence1: verb rasping sound - Explain1: Rasping is coarse and harsh unpleasant to ears. Digging must require a lot of energy. - Evidence2: Alliteration - spade sinks and gravelly ground - Explain2: Reflects the actions of the spade. gr sound is harsh, reinforces harshness in evidence1. - Evidence3: Stanza 7 - squelch and slap, curt cuts - Explain3: Sibilance s sound reflects unpleasantness of [setting] soil

conditions. Harsh C sound emphasizes the quick pace of digging through ground. Point3: Hard work involved in digging. - Evidence1: straining rump (language, diction choice) - Explain1: To strain is strenuous needs great effort. - Evidence2: Father bends low - Explain2: Involves a large amount of physical movement (Evidence1,2 - father) - Evidence3: heaving sods going down and down - Explain3: Diction heave requires powerful strength. To continue going down and down illustrates the stamina needed to finish the job. (Evidence3 - grandfather) So far Ive mentioned the action involved, styles (lang, lit features), settings contributions

We can take note that the process of digging gives rise to themes of hard work, perseverance, family duty and determination. Motifs include ideas of repetition, phonology to emphasize digging process Moving on to B. Relationship with father and admiration for grandfather (Character, action, setting, style, themes) Point1: Heaneys relationship with his father is positive yet there is a distance between them. - Evidence1: [Setting] Heaney writes at his desk Father works in field. Quote Under my window. - Explain1: Window separates father and son, yet not entirely as he can hear the rasping sound - Evidence2: [Structure] Stanza 2 and 3 Quote I look down / Till his straining - Explain2: Incomplete sentence, jumps to next stanza re-emphasizes the distance - Evidence3: Stanza 4 Quote To scatter new potatoes that we picked, / Loving their cool hardness inour hands. - Explain3: Positive closeness by using words we and our, theres shared experience, reflects happy times [togetherness] with diction loving - Evidence4: Stanza 5 quote By God, the man could handle a spade. - Explain4: Admiration, impressed with father. Point2: Heaney holds great admiration and respect towards grandfather. - Evidence1: Stanza 5 quote Just like his old man. - Explain1: Heaney compares father to grandfather, both are great diggers. - Evidence2: Stanza 6 quote My grandfather cut more turf in a day/Than any other man on Toners bog. - Explain2: Reputation of grandfather being skillful. - Evidence3: I carried him milk in a bottle corked sloppily with paper. He straightened up to drink it, then fell to right away slicing neatly - Explain3: Heaney shows care by offering a drink. Diction sloppily is contrasted with grandfather slicing neatly - difference between young and the elderly, difference in experience. Themes: Family relationships, perseverance, Family pride

C. Heaneys intentions (Character, style) Point1: Does not want to follow the path of his father and grandfather. - Evidence1: Ive no spade to follow men like them. - Explain1: Physical manual labour is not his expertise. Point2: He intends to dig in a metaphorical sense back into his past as be believes his pen is like a weapon. - Evidence1: Last stanza Between my finger and my thumb/The squat pen rests; snug as a gun./Ill dig with it. - Explain1: The gun is a metaphor and suggests that writing is a weapon for him to raise awareness of political events and in a way protect his people. Point3: To address memory. - Evidence1: Ill dig with it. - Explain1: Links to digging back into his past, memories he had links to other poems based on personal experiences such as Death of a Naturalist - Evidence2: Structure - stanzas are at different lengths - Explain2: This reflects how the memory of the poet works. The detail to which he can describe and recall.

6. Titles appropriateness Digging is a recurrent motif throughout this poem. Not only has Heaney explained the process involved but as well as the hardships that his family has gone through when working in the fields. It reflects part of the lives of Irish people. Quote from stanza 3 Bends low, comes up twenty years away - which is a large part of Heaneys fathers life. This title is definitely appropriate. 7. Conclusion. I feel that I have definitely gained an understanding of the tough process in digging for potatoes, but like Heaney has come to admire the perseverance of his father and grandfather as they carry out their tasks ever so dutifully. Heaneys use of language and literary devices clearly sets up the difficulties experienced in the field and reveals Heaneys admiration and respect towards his father and grandfather.

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