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 …show more content…
In ‘At a Potato Digging’ modernity is juxtaposed to traditional farming methods. This coupled with the violent vocabulary in the word ‘wrecked’ allows the reader to see the cruelty of the earth and the servile attitude of the labourers. There is also the use of religious language in this poem- ‘Processional stooping through the turf/ Recurs mindlessly as autumn…’ This shows the reader how the labourers bow to the earth, they make it their ‘altar’. The vocabulary used in this last stanza is an abundance of single syllable words. This gives the poem a harsh, jarring quality. It shows the raw power of nature and man’s subservience to ‘mother nature’: ‘fear’, ‘sod’ and ‘god’.