Consider the ways in which Heaney explores his memories in ‘Mid-term break’ and ‘Digging’.
In the poems ‘Digging’ and ‘Mid-term break’, Heaney portrays his childhood memories through both negatives and positive feelings. In ‘Mid-term break’, the death of his brother expresses both peaceful and soothing moments, as well as feelings of loneliness and isolation. In ‘Digging’, we are connected with Heaney’s thoughts and taken back in time to explore his Irish past, and family connection to the rich soil and land. His choice to continue writing instead of carrying out the tradition of farming separates him from his family.
In “Digging”, Heaney describes how he feels alienated from his father and grandfather. He feels as if he is not as skilled or worthy as them, but he uses writing: “the squat pen”, to stay connected to the memories with his family.
In ‘Digging’, the poet uses onomatopoeia and alliteration effectively to depict what is happening outside his bedroom window, in order to recreate scenes from his past. “Clean rasping sound”, means a clean scrape through the soil, and the word “rasping” is onomatopoeic. The alliteration of “spade sinks” and “gravelly ground” recreates the sounds of the past when his father use to dig the land for potatos. Hearing these rhythmic sounds from his window portray his father’s skill, and extent of physical effort.
As Heaney begins to express his feelings of affection, and fondness towards his father in stanza 5, his sentiments of joy make him feel proud of his father, which further leads him to start boasting about him: “My grandfather could cut more turf in a day than any other man on Toner’s bog.” This phrase contrasts to Heaney’s view, where he feels alienated from his father and grandfather. However, since he is connected to his relatives, it conveys to us that he has not drifted apart from his family, and his culture will always be a part of him.
Heaney explores his memories through the senses but...