The speaker also praises his grandfathers skill in cutting turf He does this in

The speaker also praises his grandfathers skill in

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his family. The speaker also praises his grandfather’s skill in cutting turf. He does this in lines 17-18 where he says: “My grandfather cut more turf in a day Than any other man on Toner’s bog.” These lines express that his grandfather was the most efficient turf cutter in the area. The second line and the last three lines really push the theme where the speaker says: “The squat pen rests; snug as a gun,” and “Between my finger and my thumb The squat pen rests. I’ll dig with it.”
The use of the word “gun” as a simile for a pen in the second stanza suggests that the pen is a very powerful weapon. The last stanza expresses the speaker’s feelings toward being a writer. He believes that the pen is better suited for him than the spade. And with the pen, he will be able to celebrate his family and its traditions. The tone of the poem is celebratory. Throughout the poem the speaker is celebrating the diligence that Irishmen show in doing laborious work. Heaney uses very technical terms like “lug” and “shaft” in describing how his elders would work. These terms are very specific and I think they are used to represent how precise his elders were in their working. The poem has a very celebratory feel to it in lines 19-21, where the speaker focuses on a specific memory of his grandfather working so hard and not taking a break to get a drink of milk. This memory stands out to him because he saw, in this moment, just how hardworking his grandfather was. Heaney

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