Formal response to Seamus Heaney's "Follower"

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Formal Response to “Follower.” “Follower,” by Seamus Heaney, is a poem that describes the changes that Time makes in human relationships. The narrator begins his description of his father by comparing him to a boat, with “shoulders globed like a full sail strung” (2). This image suggests that the father is strong, something the narrator admires. The narrator also describes himself stumbling in his father’s “hob-nailed wake” (13). The metaphor makes the father look like a boat, and the son like something being helplessly towed behind him, which again shows the father’s power and ability to guide the son in life. At the poem’s end, however, things have changed, and the narrator’s father “keeps stumbling behind,” and “will not go away” (23-24). Here, we see that the father is now old and weak, which suggests that the relationship between father and son has been reversed. The image is ironic: the powerful father has become like an annoying child. The theme is clear—Time will change all of us, even the powerful, making some weak and others stronger. I felt there were similarities to “Ozymandias,” where it is ironic that the powerful king is now only a broken lonely statue, and the narrator (who was not even born when the king was powerful) now looks down on the King. The poem also makes me wonder what life will be like when I get older. What will it be like to depend on others? It makes me hope I won’t be too much of burden on the young, and it also makes me think that it is important to care for the old, because they once cared for us. We can’t change Time, but Time will change us. Heaney’s poem makes us think about how change is inevitable, and it makes me think about how all of us should treat young

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