Comment Closely on “Follower” considering how it’s language and structure help present the aging process.
“Follower” is a poem which relates back to Seamus Heaney’s past memories which he had experienced when he was at a younger age, they are memories of him and his father and their relationship. From the poem we can interpret that he was brought up on a potato farm and in several of his other poems he relates to this, this suggests that perhaps he enjoyed farming or perhaps he is expressing the family’s traditions. “Follower” is a poem which strongly relates to Heaney’s past life. The poem also suggests the theme of growth, at the beginning of the poem he is a young boy, who looks up to his father. However, by the end of the poem it is his father who needs help from his son.
Heaney introduces the aging process at the beginning of the poem. In the first stanza Heaney is looking back upon his past, and how he remembers his father working in the field. In the first line “My father worked” is written in the past tense portraying the image of aging process as he is describing a time gap. Throughout the next four stanzas Heaney carries on describing his father working in the fields and his admiration towards him, but by doing that he continues to keep the time gap portraying the aging process.
In the fifth stanza Heaney is still showing admiration towards his father but the time process has changed as he is now remembering what he used to think when he was young. “I wanted to grow up and plow” here Heaney aspires to be like his father in the w. future; which conveys how much time has past between his thoughts and him looking back no
During the last the verses of the last stanza Heaney returns to the present time “but today it is my father who keeps stumbling” this conveys how the father has aged and how he has changed due to his age as he is not strong and powerful anymore but the opposite. Including “Behind me” emphasizes the fathers changed but also Heaney’s as it can suggest that time has gone past and Heaney has grown up he has become strong like his father and they have “switched roles”.
The ending of the poem is quite daunting “and will not go away” because it can suggest the continuation of the father following Heaney around and seen negatively, it manages to portray and endless amount of time. It can also be portrayed in a much darker way possibly suggesting that he is not leaving Heaney alone and he might not want him there with him; some people may interpret that as Heaney wishing his father dead as he is behind him all the time. But the majority of people would agree that Heaney used it specifically to describe the aging process from when he was a young boy to and adult. External references say that “ the first verses he wrote when he was a young teacher in Belfast” which in itself also adds to the aging process as he writes about his memories at young adulthood but then writes the last stanza which is not a memory anymore further on in his life. The structure of the poem follows a regular balladic form which emphasizes the continuous regularity of time going past and during that people aging.