“My Grandmother” by Elizabeth Jennings is about a reflection of what had happened in the past. The poem shows the poet’s grandmother’s love for antique hence she had an antique shop before giving it up due to her old age.
In this poem, the poet describes her feelings as guilt. That what she had done made her regretted it deeply. In the first Stanza, the scene is likely to be in the antique shop mentioned on Line 1. From,”as if to prove Polish was all, there was no need of love” (Line 6) gives me the impression that the grandmother was lonely only to have her antiques as ‘it kept her’. The grandmother seems to do the same thing whenever she tends to the shop which is just to watch her own reflection among the antiques. Perhaps this antiques were gifts from someone important towards her or probably is a reminder of her life when she was younger. I have a strong impression in this Stanza that there was a great sense of solitude.
In Stanza 2 is where the poet describes her guilt towards her grandmother. How she refused to go out with her grandmother. I have the impression that the poet at that time did not realise that it would have been hurtful towards the grandmother on her rejection. After all the grandmother was lonely and probably only wanted to socialise with the poet more. It was only until the poet reflects upon this then she realises how hurtful it possibly would have been and hence became guilty. This makes us the readers kind of pity her as being a child back then it’s hard to realise how it can hurt a person.
In Stanza 3, the scene is directed at the antique shop again. However, the time setting is different. In stanza 1, the scene starts as when the antique shop is being runned by the grandmother. In stanza 2, the time setting is when the grandma has aged and is unable to tend to the store anymore. The shop becomes overwhelmed with dust and a ‘smelt old, of things too long kept shut’ which could also reflect to the possible relationship between the grandma and the poet. They were not close, additionally with the refusion that the poet had given to the grandmother most likely would have made things worse. ‘There was nothing then to giver her own reflection back again’ makes me feel that it became an irreversible scar on their relationship.
In the last stanza, the poet describes that she ‘felt no grief at all’ when the grandmother passed. This proves again that her relationship with her grandmother wasn’t close. The only emotion that was mentioned here was her guilt. “Sideboards and cupboards – things she never used” can possibly be comparing her relationship with her grandmother too. The not the need to be close, yet are still blood-related
I believe the poet wanted us to think about what we do towards anyone can have a great impact in the future. That we should learn to cherish everyone and embrace each other. And not only regret what we did after the person had passed on as that guilt would stay with us for the rest of our lives.
“Grandfather” by Chandran Nair is talking about his grandfather’s tough days even until ‘seventy six years’. In stanza 1, it shows the impression the poet has for his grandfather: A very hardworking person.
In Stanza 2, the scene seems to show that the grandfather was a farmer. This gives me the impression that despite how tough the situation is, the grandfather was able to maintain a optimistic view towards everything. “In drought-stricken months he wears old age as lightly as his beard his smile transcends.” explains that during times when crops are lacking, his not worried even despite his old age he will continue to work. This optimism is something very admirable.
There is this contrasts between the two poems here as it shows that the grandfather in this poem is rather optimistic and socialisble whilst the grandmother in the first poem is rather lonely and seldom interacts with others.
In Stanza 3, the poet seems to pity his grandfather to be born in this life. This can be seen from,”to be born from unlucky seeds” .
In Stanza 4, it gives me the impression that the hard work the grandfather had put in was not recognised. “Gods bothered him, but temples missed his sacrifice” shows that no one, not even the ‘gods’, would have understood his pain. As along this route as a farmer, that the grandfather goes as “spacing out years in padi fields” suggests, he realises that despite all his hard work, without the proper “attainment” or talent, one’s life would be tough. Yet along this entire route, the grandfather learns to accept this and still continue to live on positively.
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