Comparison of Heaney's 'at a Potato Digging' and Hardy's 'Autumn Midnight.

1193 Words May 18th, 2013 5 Pages
Look again at ‘At a Potato Digging’ by Seamus Heaney and at ‘A Sheep Fair’ by Thomas Hardy, which both deal with the theme of the hardship of rural life.
With close reference to the ways each poet uses language, compare and contrast what the speakers in the poems say about rural life. You should include relevant contextual material. Which poem do you find more interesting? Give your reasons.

Seamus Heaney and Thomas Hardy both depict images of rural life as difficult and uncomfortable. In their poems ‘At a Potato Digging’ and ‘A Sheep Fair’ they describe different aspects of rural life; these were elements of life that would have been familiar to the poets and ones that they would have experienced. In their poetry Heaney and Hardy
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This is comparable to the tone in ‘At a Potato Digging’. Here we have a tone of detachment and monotony in relation to the labourers and the dehumanizing effect of their work. This is achieved through synecdoche; in stanza three the workers are referred to simply as body parts: ‘Heads bow, trunks bend, hands fumble…’ This loss of identity strips the worker of personality and emphasises their servitude. This theme of servitude is further emphasised in ‘At a Potato Digging’ by the structure and rhyme scheme. The rhyme scheme is ABAB- it is repetitive and this reflects the monotonous nature of the work. The poem also uses enjambment throughout to symbolise the continuous motion of their labour: ‘Some pairs keep breaking ranks to fetch/ A full creel to the pit and straighten, stand/ Tall for a moment but soon stumble back…’ This example of enjambment between stanzas two and three show us that although the labourers may have moments of dignity and accomplishment they must ‘fall’ back to work in order to survive.
‘A Sheep Fair’ also uses a regular rhyme scheme and structure. The rhyme scheme is ABABCCCCDD. This shows the rhythmical and methodical way in which the
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