Follower

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Critical Essay on ‘Follower’

A poem which explores the problems of growing older is the poem ‘Follower’ by Seamus Heaney. This poem is about Heaney’s childhood memories of his father working on the farm ploughing the land. Heaney talks very highly of his father and creates the impression of a very strong man who was an expert at what he done and a man who was his son’s hero. It also talks about how Heaney used to follow his dad around as he worked and how he dreamed of growing up and ploughing like his dad. However, there is a twist at the end of the poem and Heaney goes from talking about how he was an annoyance to his dad when he was younger but now his dad is the annoyance to him as he is now old.

In the first stanza, Heaney talks about his father and his work. He is talking very highly of his father and says,
“The horses strained at his clicking tongue”
This quote shows how his father was a man who was extremely good at his work as it shows how his father could control numerous strong farm animals perfectly and with ease just by clicking his tongue, a very hard thing to do using reasonable force never mind just by a simple gesture such of the click of his tongue. The image the reader gathers from this quote goes well with the image of a strong, well-built man that we get when Heaney writes,

“His shoulders globed like a full sail strung”
These two quotes together give a very good impression of Heaney’s dad. Together they give the impression that his dad was a very heroic figure to him and that he aspired to be like him. It gives the image of the perfect male, a strong, graceful man that was an expert at his profession and that was an idol to his son. However, these hero-like images of his father when he was younger are dismissed later on in the poem when Heaney writes about how his dad is no longer the big strong man that is an idol to younger males but the complete opposite, someone who is annoying and in the way of him rather than being...
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