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 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. - 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 speaker’s 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.

. • This reminds him of his grandfather. Process of digging potatoes . how he had a reputation of being an expert in handling a spade.“spade sinks” and “gravelly ground” . ‘gr’ sound is harsh. ’heaving’. Heaney’s intentions A. 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.Explain1: Rasping is coarse and harsh… unpleasant to ears. Digging must require a lot of energy. . • We are then brought back to Heaney writing at his desk.Evidence4: [Style-use of language. C. Relationship with father and admiration for grandfather . Process of digging potatoes (Action.Explain1: Phonology echos repetitiveness of the motion involved. .By looking at the use of structure and choice of diction. . sees father digging and describes the process involved.Evidence1: [Style-rhyming.Explain4: Do I have to?? (Evidence4 .‘squelch and slap’.Explain2: Reflects the actions of the spade. .lit} (I)deas {themes}] For me. ’going’. 5.Explain3: Reinforces repetitiveness using same diction.Evidence3: Stanza 7 . ‘digging’ — ‘ing’ sound is repeated . Summary: Poet writes at desk.Evidence2: Stanza 3 “Stooping in rhythm” .grandfather) Point2: Heaney uses [style] alliteration + phonology to give the readers an image to work with. phonology] verbs . Focus: A.3. first two lines] “Sound” and “ground”.Heaney uses plenty of phonology and verbs to portray this. (Evidence1.Explain2: It just supports point. 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. motifs) • Point1: Digging is a continuous process. style. .Evidence1: verb “rasping sound” .Evidence2: Alliteration . 4.2. . looks out window. ‘curt cuts’ . .3 is about father) .Explain3: Sibilance ‘s’ sound reflects unpleasantness of [setting] soil • • . ending poem by stating how he too would dig in his own way through writing.’nicking’. I have a focus and how I will explain it. setting. ‘slicing’. Motion is monotonous. onomatopoeia stanza 2. themes. B.Evidence3: Repetition of “Digging” stanzas 2 and 3. reinforces harshness in evidence1.

Evidence1: Stanza 5 quote “Just like his old man.Evidence1: ‘straining rump’ (language. To continue going ‘down and down’ illustrates the stamina needed to finish the job.” . . perseverance. diction choice) .” .• conditions.Explain3: Positive closeness by using words ‘we’ and ‘our’.grandfather) So far… I’ve mentioned the action involved.” . Point3: Hard work involved in digging. the man could handle a spade. setting. difference in experience. phonology to emphasize digging process Moving on to… B. .Explain2: Involves a large amount of physical movement (Evidence1. Themes: Family relationships. both are great diggers.Explain1: To strain… is strenuous… needs great effort.Explain3: Heaney shows care by offering a drink. Diction ‘sloppily’ is contrasted with grandfather ‘slicing neatly’ . themes) • Point1: Heaney’s relationship with his father is positive yet there is a distance between them. .Evidence3: ‘heaving sods’… ‘going down and down’ .Evidence2: Father ‘bends low’ . • Motifs include ideas of repetition. Family pride • • • .difference between young and the elderly. . ‘family duty’ and ‘determination’. He straightened up to drink it. style.father) .Explain2: Incomplete sentence. yet not entirely as he can hear the ‘rasping sound’ . . ‘perseverance’. lit features).Explain2: Reputation of grandfather being skillful.Explain1: Window separates father and son. Harsh ‘C’ sound emphasizes the quick pace of digging through ground. there’s shared experience.2 .Evidence2: Stanza 6 quote “My grandfather cut more turf in a day/Than any other man on Toner’s bog. Relationship with father and admiration for grandfather (Character.Evidence2: [Structure] Stanza 2 and 3 Quote “I look down / Till his straining…” .Evidence1: [Setting] Heaney writes at his desk… Father works in field.Evidence3: “I carried him milk in a bottle corked sloppily with paper.Evidence3: Stanza 4 Quote “To scatter new potatoes that we picked.Explain1: Heaney compares father to grandfather. then fell to right away… slicing neatly” . .Explain4: Admiration. styles (lang. jumps to next stanza re-emphasizes the distance .” . . reflects happy times [togetherness] with diction ‘loving’ . / Loving their cool hardness inour hands. Point2: Heaney holds great admiration and respect towards grandfather. setting’s contributions… We can take note that the process of digging gives rise to themes of ‘hard work’.Explain3: Diction ‘heave’ requires powerful strength.Evidence4: Stanza 5 quote “By God. (Evidence3 . action. Quote “Under my window”. impressed with father.

7.Evidence1: ‘I’ll dig with it. .stanzas are at different lengths . Heaney’s intentions (Character.” . . Point3: To address memory. . This title is definitely appropriate.Evidence1: “I’ve no spade to follow men like them. Point2: He intends to ‘dig’ in a metaphorical sense back into his past as be believes his pen is like a weapon. Conclusion. Quote from stanza 3 “Bends low.Explain1: Links to digging back into his past. I feel that I have definitely gained an understanding of the tough process in digging for potatoes. . • • 6.Evidence1: Last stanza “Between my finger and my thumb/The squat pen rests.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. Heaney’s use of language and literary devices clearly sets up the difficulties experienced in the field and reveals Heaney’s admiration and respect towards his father and grandfather.Evidence2: Structure . style) • • Point1: Does not want to follow the path of his father and grandfather. comes up twenty years away” . memories he had… links to other poems based on personal experiences such as ‘Death of a Naturalist’ .” . It reflects part of the lives of Irish people.Explain2: This reflects how the memory of the poet works.’ .C. 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. but like Heaney has come to admire the perseverance of his father and grandfather as they carry out their tasks ever so dutifully. The detail to which he can describe and recall./I’ll dig with it. snug as a gun. Title’s appropriateness ‘Digging’ is a recurrent motif throughout this poem.which is a large part of Heaney’s father’s life.Explain1: Physical manual labour is not his expertise.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful