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Compare Long Distance 1 and 2 by Tony Harrison, and My Grandmother by Elizabeth Jennings.

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Introduction

By Rachel Armstrong - 10 June 2003 Long Distance 1 and 2 by Tony Harrison -My Grandmother by Elizabeth Jennings. All of these three poems deal with bereavement, In Long Distance, the mother and father dies, and in My Grandmother, its the that grandmother dies. In this essay I am going to analyse the poems and then discuss the poets reactions to the deaths. Long Distance 1 This poem is about Tony Harrison's father. It is all about how there is such a 'long distance' between the father and son. Tony Harrison, being a very famous poet, has obviously had years of education and opportunities, unlike his father, a man with a broad Yorkshire accent, who has probably had the same job through his entire life. This opens up certain gaps between the two. There is also the physical distance between them, the father living in Yorkshire and Harrison jetting off all over the world. Tony Harrison, was brought into a working class family, and through his life he has fought to go up in class, and he now moves in important circles, going to expensive parties, this means he has left his average family behind him. There is the age gap as well. All these things may cause the Father to feel inferior to his son. ...read more.

Middle

So this poem shows that the Dad and son are too distant and different, and doesn't show that Harrison loves his dad. This poem ends with two couplets, this finishes the poem well, and emphasises the importance of the last stanza Long Distance 2 This poem is different to the first in that it is more orderly; there are four stanzas, each with four lines, alternately rhyming: Dead Gas Bed Pass Each line has about 10 or 11 syllables. In this poem, Harrison's mother is dead. He says this bluntly, and without feeling. "Though my mother was already two years dead..." The way he says this shows that he is not overly upset about all this. In this poem, it portrays his father's feelings, rather than just his grumpy, snappy ways as it did the in the 1st poem. We see this in the 2nd stanza: "You couldn't just drop in. You had to phone. He'd put you off an hour to give him time To clear away her things and look alone As though his still raw love was such a crime" This is the first time we see the father as a human with feelings. The next stanza goes on to say, "He couldn't risk my blight of disbelief" This shows how the father feels inferior to his son, this enhanced by the long distances between them that I have already discussed. ...read more.

Conclusion

The 2nd stanza goes on to say about how the grand daughter refused to go out with her because she feared being treated like an object. I don't think that the grandmother really did love her grand chills, but looked after her because it was expected of her, she didn't do anything more for Jennings, and did not ever try to get to know her. I think Jennings must have picked up on this, and not returned the love. One of the themes throughout this poem is polishing. "Polish was all, no need for love" It is basically saying that the Grandmother spent her whole life polishing with no time for love, and once she died all the work she did was just forgotten about, "only the new dust falling through the air" This caused a distance to grow between the two, as in the first tow poems I talked about. Unlike Harrison, she quotes " When she died, I felt no grief at all, only the guilt of having once refused." This is the difference between the two poets feelings. I liked the Long Distance Poems more than My Grandmother, mainly because I prefer the style of Tony Harrison to Jennings. I also don't like to think of old people not being cared about, even if they are not very nice people in themselves. So I much prefer the happy ending of the Long Distance poems. ...read more.

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