Barn and Follower by Seamus Heaney

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Barn and Follower Essay Seamus Heaney was born on the 13th of April 1939 on a farm in rural Co. Londonderry in Northern Ireland. Heaney spent most of his childhood on the farm and this rural country lifestyle inspired him to write his first volume of poetry, ‘Death of a Naturalist’ which was published in 1966. Heaney’s poems are usually about nature, childhood and his experiences in Ireland. ‘The Barn’ is from the Volume ‘Death of a Naturalist’. Heaney would have been familiar with farms and outbuildings so ‘the Barn is relevant to his childhood and may have been written about an experience Heaney had in a barn as a child. ‘Follower’ is also from this collection and is about a Father and son working together on the land and the son aspires to be like his father. This poem is also about Heaney’s childhood and how he has watched his father ploughing the land and how he watched him and wished to be like him but he was always falling and could not plough unlike his father who was an expert. ‘Follower also looks at Role Reversal between the father and son today. Heaney’s poem ‘The Barn’ is set in a barn, most likely one on the farm where Heaney grew up. It describes an experience Heaney has had in the barn. He is able to describe the building and the features in it very clearly which shows that he is familiar with those surroundings. ‘The floor was mouse-grey, smooth, chilly concrete. There were no windows, just two narrow shafts Of gilded motes, crossing, from air-holes slit High in each gable. The one door meant no draughts’ Both ‘Barn’ and ‘Follower’ use first person narrative with the speaker referring to themselves as ‘I’. For example in ‘The Barn’, ‘I lay face down to shun the fear above’ and in ‘Follower’, ‘I wanted to grow up and plough’. ‘The Barn’ is made up of five Quatrains, or four line stanzas, that are all of regular line length. ‘The Barn doesn’t
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