It is a poem that he wrote in the first person perspective, making him the speaker in the poem. that speaks of how he learned of and dealt wit the death of his 4 year old brother while he was away at school…
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Having learned of what happened while away at school, Seamus spent the school day at the sick bay or clinic where he heard the school bell ring between classes. In his mind, the bell was similar to the paling of the church bells during a funeral. The last bell of the day signaling the end of class after all.
Returning home, he did not have a very clear picture of what tragedy had just beset his family. So he met with the mourners with a sense of detachment. Henry was touched by the way that his father “Big Jim” Evans showed emotion at the death of his younger brother. Knowing his father to be a strong and somewhat stoic man, this was one of the few times that Seamus actually saw his father saddened by an event. Sadness is a very powerful emotion that the man seemed able to convey to his oldest son only by shaking his hand and letting him know what a “big blow” the death of the middle son was.
Why did the Old Man stand for Henry when he arrived and shook his hand? In the family, he was the eldest son and as such, he was second to his father in commanding the respect of the community. By standing up to greet him, the Old Man acknowledged his presence and his authority in the family. Indeed, their situation was quite unusual and that is why Henry seemed lost and confused when the Old Man and others began to stand up to greet and speak to him upon his arrival.
This is one of the saddest poems that I have ever read. From the beginning of the second line, it was already evident that this was not a poem that was going to end with a happy recollection of a time past. Using assonance and alliteration, Seamus Henry managed to emotionally involve his readers in the death of his brother. Describing the ringing of the school bell in relation to a funeral indicates that he felt heavy at the thought of time slowly passing.
A lyrical poem, one
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The author has used simple style and language in developing his poem; however, they are distinct thereby helping in revealing the theme. In should be noted that the author decided to employ these degrees of simplicity to achieve the descriptive nature of the poem.
The poet talks of the pen writing, like holding a gun, which is a clear indication of scenes of violence. The use of assonance “the pen rests” and “snug as a gun” appears to rhyme, as well (Heaney Line 2). In Digging, there is an extensive amount of entrapment imagery from the beginning to the end.
This is worthy of mention because Heaney often writes with farming as a backdrop or as the main subject of his poems. Although Heaney moved away from the family farm when he was young the farm never left him and it is quite obvious that his time on the farm had a big impact on him.
This poem also brings out the meandering course of grief that is reflected in Heaney's as well as his parent's reactions to their loss.
The poem opens with a sense of waiting as the poet has been confined to the sick room, where he has nothing to do but count as each bell signals the end of a class.
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