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Comparison Of Sunlight And Digging Of Seamus Heaney

1400 words - 6 pages

Sunlight and Digging are two poems that were written by Seamus Heaney, an Irish born poet. Through those poems he talks about some of his memories of the past that he spent with his family members. They both describe how hard working they were and the physical strength they needed.

Digging is one of the famous poems of Heaney. In the twentieth century, the labours of everyday life were quite different as the ones of today. Most people were still living a rural life, and weren’t yet completely introduced to urbanization. In this poem we are left with his thoughts and feelings. Each stanza of this poem takes you further and further back in time, and with it progresses a good use of ...view middle of the document...

He wants to be like them so much that he strives to find a connection between his writing and their manual labour. That’s why he says “I’ll dig with it” as in he will dig into his past with his pen.

The heavy use of assonance, alliteration and onomatopoeia throughout the poem creates a strong sound image that represents the act of this digging, digging into the richness of language. The onomatopoeia is obvious in “rasping”, “gravelly”, “sloppily”, “squelch” and “slap”. We can then say, that “digging” was part of this family for three generations, as a male occupation. There is an extended metaphor of “digging” and “roots”, which shows how the poet in his writing is getting back to his own roots, meaning his identity. The whole poem is triggered by a few senses, these being the sound and smell of a spade slicing through the earth. Using the five senses, it creates a vivid picture of the potato fields. “The cold smell of potato mould, the squelch and slap of soggy peat, the curt cuts of an edge.” (Lines 25-26), it to me conjures up a beautiful picture, using the senses of sight and smell. “The curt cut of an edge” makes you believe that the cut of peat is professional and neat. He’s grandfather have probably been doing this job for many years, and the fact that his grandson sees him doing the same work after all those years with professionalism and neatness is surprising. “Through living roots awaken in my head” (line 27), just as easily as a sense triggered his flashback he gets back in the past. The poem finishes with: “Between my thumb and finger the squat pen rests” this line opens and closes the poem with the last line “I’ll dig with it” being a metaphor. While the juxtaposition of the pen and a gun recalls the old adage: “the pen is mightier than the sword”, the final comparison is more powerful, describing Heaney’s work as precise and creative rather than violent and simply powerful.

“Sunlight” which is another poem of Seamus Heaney, was written for his aunt Mary Heaney. As he describes what is happening in the kitchen’s surroundings while his aunt is baking, we can assume that here he’s the speaker again. This poem recalls as “Digging” a memory of the past. At that time women had as an everyday job: take care of the house and the family. Which means she did the dust, grocery shopping and she cooked. Men were the ones bringing money home. "There was a sunlit absence”, is the first line, it introduces the motif and emotions. Sunlight is known for its warmth (= comfort). Here, “absence” has several meanings: absence of company, absence of comfort, and absence of love. She had no one to talk to as the walls of the kitchen has confined her, which is ironic since it’s her gender role and every day job that are confining her....

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