Monday, February 8, 2016

Heaney Memes


The final stanza of "Follower" is left rather ambiguous and the narrowing of the eyes is an evocation of that uncertainty.  Heaney remarks that his father's "stumbling behind" him mirrors Seamus' own behavior as a "tripping, falling" "nuisance", but it is unclear how the father's following of Heaney is actually manifest. While some interpretations make one believe that the father is dead and is stalking his son as a ghost, it may also be concluded that the father's aging has led the two to reverse roles (Seamus being capable and his father being a nuisance).


A through-line that is present in many of Heaney's poems is the description of the Irish landscape, which is often manifest through the presence of bogs. The landscape that is described, dotted with mines and deposits of peat, is representative of the hardworking nature that Heaney believes the Irish possess.

Bog Queen

Heaney appears fascinated with corpses, and many of his poems, including Bog Queen, Tollund Man, and Grabaulle Man, deal with the exhumation of bodies. Heaney connects the appearance of corpses to the imitation of life through art in Grabaulle Man and links the preservation of dead bodies to the conflict between paganism and monotheism in Tolland Man.

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