The father-son relationship in Seamus Heaney’s poem Follower

 In his poem ‘Follower’, Seamus Heaney (1939-2013) presents the attitudes of love and admiration from the narrating son to his father. Heaney describes the son’s apparent reverence and veneration of his father’s skill in farming and his desire to emulate this. Actually, it’s a poem of reflection on Seamus Heaney’s childhood memories with his father.  

More Notes:  Seamus Heaney

His father was a plowman. He worked with horses. At that time, the poet was a child. He observes how his father controlled the horses with his expert hands. He turned over the sod and made straight furrows. Henry finds his father here as an explorer applying a metaphor of the sailing ship, moving with full power silently about its business. The poet says,   

His eye 

Narrowed and angled at the ground, 

Mapping the furrow exactly. 

His father swung the poet on his shoulders while guiding the horses. But now the little poet is adult enough. He is a self-dependent man right now. So, he doesn’t need any protection. He can now walk his own path in life. But at this time his father needs protection who is behind the poet. There is a great message in this poem, that children remain children forever to their parents. They never try to depend on their children. They may need physical support but they always provide mental support to their children.  

Usually, a father is the best friend and advisor of the son. Admiration The intense relationship between son and father is highlighted most through a semantic field of admiration and this theme is highlighted through his depiction of his dad as an “expert”.  

Rashedul Islam
Rashedul Islam

Hi, This is Rashedul. Researcher and lecturer of English literature and Linguistics.

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