Seamus Heaney Symbolism

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One of the most important human experiences is the ability to live in a safe environment, which is used as inspiration for a prominent theme of family, explicated comparably in Digging free-verse poem by Seamus Heaney and in Do Not Go Gentle into That Goodnight villanelle poem by Dylan Thomas. Both poems explore the transience of remembering memories and the pitilessness of time in similar and contrasting ways, using symbols of the environment and familial experiences to appreciate human existence. Following themes of family and mortality, Heaney autobiographically recounts memories of his childhood with his grandfather and father before their deaths, ‘twenty years away’. Heaney narrated ‘When the spade sinks into gravelly ground: My father, digging. I look down’, rhyming ‘ground’ and ‘down’ to symbolise the bleak eventuality of death. Comparably, narrated in first-person, Thomas ambivalently expresses his love towards his father, informing him of how to die powerfully- ‘Old age should burn and rave at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light’, following a strict rhyme scheme of last word of first and third line of each tercet and quatrain to maintain form and emphasis. Heaney’s metaphor of ‘Through living roots awaken in my head’ conveys how Heaney, through his writing, is able to create his own identity through choosing 'the squat pen' over a ‘spade’, thus 'digging' up memories of his ancestors and remembering his ‘roots’. Similarly, Thomas’ metaphors of
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