Heaney compares his pen to a defence with which to defend himself from criticism about the choice and type of his career. The ideas presented in this poem bear a variety of similarities presented by Wilbur in his poem, The Writer. Wilbur talks about his daughter and seems to be targeting parents who are in the same situation with him as audience. Therefore, Digging and The Writer are similar, in content, since they both address issues relating to the family. For example, isolation is one theme that is strongly revealed in Digging. Heaney isolation, from his family, is indicated when he returns, from school, to attend his brother’s funeral during mid-term break. His fear about farming is explored in the ban. Heaney’s admiration for his father and frustration, at his own lack of skills, are presented in the “flower” while his lack of understanding is ironically expressed in “death of a naturalist” (Heaney line 6). On the other hand, digging is metaphorically used to mean coming into terms with all these issues that the poet represents.
The poet talks of the pen writing, like holding a gun, which is a clear indication of scenes of violence. The use of assonance “the pen rests” and “snug as a gun” appears to rhyme, as well (Heaney Line 2). In Digging, there is an extensive amount of entrapment imagery from the beginning top the end. Use of imagery helps the audience understand the poem’s theme with a lot of ease. For example, Wilbur describes his daughter’s room as a place where light breaks for the windows are covered with linden and a tree with yellow and white flows (Wilbur Line 2). In addition, like many similes in the poem Digging, the author talks about daughter’s door being closed and the daughter locked inside hence the outsiders could only hear the noise of cluttering keys on the keyboard (Wilbur Line 20).