© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.



by Seamus Heaney

Digging Questions

Bring on the tough stuff - there’s not just one right answer.

  1. Boy, that image of the pen with a gun really gets our attention. Why do you think Heaney compares something so seemingly harmless to something more powerful and violent?
  2. Do you think the speaker is unhappy that he's not a potato farmer like his father and grandfather? Why or why not?
  3. What similarities are there between writing and digging for potatoes or peat?
  4. Did you notice any sounds in the poem in particular (maybe some rhymes or interesting rhythms)? What do all these sounds have to do with what the poem is about?
  5. When the lines "Between my finger and my thumb/ The squat pen rests" are repeated at the end, has the meaning changed from when you read them at the beginning? How so?
  6. What do you think the speaker will dig for with his pen? His past? Truth?

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...