Digging Questions and Answers
by Seamus Heaney

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How does the poet use language to convey ideas about relationships?

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Seamus Heaney's "Digging" is a poem concerned with various relationships: the relationships between him and his father, between his father and his grandfather, and between a man and his work. Heaney's use of language helps to elucidate all of these relationships.

As the title indicates, the idea of digging is a key theme in the poem. Both the father and grandfather in the poem have wielded a "spade" as a tool: it is indicated that the father, like his own father, could "handle" a spade well. The phrase "old man" is used to...

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