Digging by Semus Heaney: Close Reading Analysis

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Digging by Seamus Heaney: Close Reading Analysis
Digging by Seamus Heaney appears to be a poem about his actual family, in reality, it is about the stereotypical male role from past to present. Society has been made to believe that the males traditional way of earning a living is through hard work and manual labor and it has been this way for centuries. This poem is Heaneys’ way of coming to realization that “digging”, or hard labor, was not for him and he is going against what society says and chooses to do something that his heart is into. He mentions many things in this poem on his feelings towards his decision and does so using detailed imagery, irony, and word play. One thing being that he felt a sense of superiority over the laborers because they were doing something that they had to do, while he was doing something that he wanted to do. Not only did he look down upon them for that reason, but also because he knew that he was much more educated than them. It was not said in the poem but is implied because it takes much more knowledge to become a profound writer than a man who plants and plows potatoes. Although it seems as if Heaney worried about whether or not the “men” before him would accept his decision to become a writer, he tried to relate what he was doing to that of what other men in society were doing to make it more acceptable, even though he could care less about what the critics had to say because he was doing something he had a passion for and he was content with that.

The first stanza of the poem is one of the present, Heaney describes how he is sitting at a desk by the window with a pen in his hand “…as snug as a gun.” This pen symbolizes his weapon against society, showing us how he knows that people are going to critique him about his decision but he is well prepared. The window is also a symbol, it is a barrier between him and his father. One that was probably built because of his fathers non-acceptance of his sons choice of earning...
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