Practice 8.2

Poets are presented with the freedom of language. They are given no boundaries except that of their imagination. “Follower” by Seamus Heaney and “Song of Myself” by Walt Whitman are both written with strong feeling and purpose, whether that purpose is obvious or must be deeply inferred. Poetry is a sector of literature that is known for fanciful word choice and underlying meanings or messages. Both of these poems explore the Big Question of “What is important to you on life? What is our purpose while we’re here?”. Whitman and Heaney wrote these well-known poems for a reason. They wanted to get the readers to open their minds to further insights about life after reading their work, and they did just that.

In “Follower”, the author tells a story of growing up with his father. He explains how his father used to be his biggest role model, and may still be, but as he grew up and old age began to overtake his father, he began to step into that role. Heaney aimed to follow in his father’s footsteps, and that was something that was very important to him in life. He watched his father run their farm and wanted to do just that as he became of age. In “Song of Myself”, Whitman writes a celebratory piece that establishes his general being and explores a few smaller anecdotes of his life. Whitman emphasizes that it is important to appreciate yourself and give yourself credit for everything you do.

It is important for writers to get readers to ponder over themes such as these solely for imaginative purposes. People either are born knowing why they were put on this Earth, or they spend all their lives trying to discover ther purpose in life. Writers can help readers discover themselves through reading about their own experiences. Poetry really makes people think.

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