Ecological Self and Nativism in Seamus Heaney's “Digging”

Ecological Self and Nativism in Seamus Heaney's “Digging”

Nimmi Maria Abraham

Nimmi Maria Abraham "Ecological Self and Nativism in Seamus Heaney's “Digging”" Published in International Journal of Trend in Research and Development (IJTRD), ISSN: 2394-9333, Special Issue | NSCCIGC-18 , March 2018, URL:

“Digging” is more than a recollection of childhood experience by the speaker. By analyzing thepoem, it can be stated that nativism is nurtured in the speaker by the ecological self realization achievedthrough his childhood experiences. The setting of the poem is the landscape of Northern Ireland. Thewhole poem is about the speaker recollecting the memories of his grandfather working in the 'soggy peat',and his father 'digging' in the potato field. As a child, he used to accompany them. For the speaker, thedependence on the land was not just for survival. As a child he enjoyed being with nature. It can beinferred from the poem that the speaker experienced this happiness when he attained 'ecological selfrealization' (a term coined by Arnae Naess). It is this ecological self realization acquired in his childhooddays that sowed the seeds of nativism in the speaker. At present, he cannot have a direct attachment withnature like his forefathers. But, through the acquired nativism, with the aid of ecological self realization,he can continue the same 'digging' done by his father using his pen.

Nativism, Ecological self realization, Arne Naess

Special Issue | NSCCIGC-18 , March 2018


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