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Compare My Grandmother and Long Distance - Best Words

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How are the themes of Family and Death treated differently or similarly in Harrison's poem 'Long Distance' and Jennings' poem 'My Grandmother'? 'Long Distance' is an elegy written by Tony Harrison. The poem begins with Harrison explaining to the readers' how his father reacted to his mother's death, and then he goes on to explain how he himself came to terms with the death of both his parents. 'My Grandmother' by Elizabeth Jennings, also an elegy, is a narrative in which she describes her personal relationship with her grandmother, and the effect it had on her after her grandmother's death. Both poems are similar because their main themes are family and death, which are portrayed in different ways. We are introduced to the theme of death in the first line of 'Long Distance'. Harrison begins by telling us his mother was already "two years dead"; however his father still felt affection for her. This is evident because his father "still went to renew her transport pass". The use of "pass" in this sentence also shows the northern dialect in which Harrison came from as he rhymed the word "gas". ...read more.


The use of imagery is quite opposite in the first stanza of Harrison's poem when he first mentions death. While referring to his father's obsession, he uses words such as "warming" and "hot water bottle" so that the reader is not too affected by the negative use of death, while giving the poem a story and a feeling that makes the reader want to carry on reading. This creates a positive atmosphere to lighten the situation. However, by the time we reach the end of the poem, Harrison changes the mood and it becomes sad and depressing with the use of words such as "alone" and "rusted lock" to show that not only was Harrison's father lonely, but he had not left his house after the death of the mother because his father felt that he "knew she'd just popped out to get the tea". The use of italics on "knew" shows his father's absolute certainty of the fact but in reality, it only showed that he was in a state of denial and desperation for the mother. Harrison also creates a depressing atmosphere by describing his new phone book "black", the colour to signify death. ...read more.


However, unlike Harrison, she does not fall into the same emotional trap as she "felt no grief at all" when she died. The use of "no" and "at all" adds conviction to her statement, as if it was her final decision. In conclusion, the themes of family and death linked in both poems. Each poem is about a family member who died, and how they felt after. The authors also include similar emotions, such as obsession, however the obsession is focused on different topics. They also share the same feelings towards the members of their family because both authors stayed distanced from them; however it could also be argued that Harrison still felt a slight obsession to the "disconnected number" of his parents. The difference between the authors' is that they have different views towards death. Harrison clearly states he "believes life ends with death" perhaps showing us that he is an atheist. In contrast, Jennings is not an atheist, as many of her poems talk about religious experiences. Because of the points above, I believe that both these poems shared similar views on family and death, but they were expressed in different ways. Word Count: 1500 ?? ?? ?? ?? Syedul Miah Best Words Coursework - 1 - ...read more.

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