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Examine “My Grandmother” and discuss in what ways this poem is effective.

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Examine "My Grandmother" and discuss in what ways this poem is effective This poem is an effective character portrait of an old woman, Elizabeth Jennings grandmother, who replaces friendship and companionship with antiques and objects. It's from the viewpoint of the granddaughter looking back on their relationship. Elizabeth Jennings uses simple statements, which clearly describes her grandmother. Her poems are autobiographical, looking back and reflecting on the difficult personal experiences of her life. The relationship between the two women was difficult and that is strongly reflected throughout the poem. She opens the poem by explaining more about who the grandmother was; "she kept an antique shop". It's a simple statement, which starts the portrait by suggesting the different possible characters she could have. The poem is written in the first person, from the view of the granddaughter, Elizabeth Jennings. She tries to include how she felt about her grandmother and an overall view of how she was perceived by others. Many of the lines and phrases within the poem are ambiguous; they take on more than one meaning. ...read more.


She would clean everything until you could see your reflection in it; this was her reward for all of the hard work that she put in, "she watched her own reflection in the brass". If she could see herself then she knows that she has done a good job. As she grew older that was all she cared about. From this behaviour we can draw up a more detailed view of Elizabeth Jennings and her grandmother's character. She was old and didn't have many friends; you could imagine her stalking you around the shop to check that you don't touch anything or leave any fingerprints. The granddaughter finds the grandmother hard to relate to, cold and doesn't really like her. They don't have a very good relationship. Jennings shows empathy towards her grandmother throughout the poem. This emphasises the difference in personality and opinions. The poem not only portrays the life of her grandmother but also displays the thoughts and feelings of the poet. This is something people like, knowing how people are feeling and what their life is like. ...read more.


A stanza is four or more rhymed line's, matching them together. I can't find any direct pattern between the each verse. For example in the first verse the first and third line rhyme (her, furniture), the second and fourth lines rhyme (glass, brass) but the last two lines don't rhyme as such. The last three letters are the same, so they look similar (prove, love) yet when pronounced they don't rhyme. Not all of the verses have complete stanzas some only have two lines that rhyme, to have a 'full' stanza you must have four or more lines that can be matched together. My theory of why she did this was to try and distract the reader from enjoying it because 'it rhymes and sounds really good' and make them concentrate more on the poem and think about what each line means. I really enjoyed the poem, although it is quite a straightforward poem, I feel it has hidden depths, more about the poet rather than anything else. Many of these hidden truths are things that we can't directly see. I think 'My Grandmother' is a very personal poem that Elizabeth Jennings relates to more than anyone and maybe that is one of mysteries that attracts me to it. ...read more.

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