• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

"My Grandmother" by Elizabeth Jennings - summary of structure & theme

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Steven Gatesman "My Grandmother" Poetry Coursework In the poem entitled "My Grandmother" by Elizabeth Jennings explores the relationship between the poetic voice and her grandmother. It focuses on the remorse and guilt she felt, and perhaps does still feel. The poem is divided into four parts. The first stanza describes her grandmother working in the shop, the second the incident which causes her guilt, the third stanza shows her in retirement. In the final stanza, after her grandmother has died, the speaker reflects on herself and her grandmother's life. The first stanza sets the scene; the antique shop reflects the character and life of the grandmother. The words 'it kept her' suggest that it seems, to the speaker, her only reason for living; the grandmother's concern is with surface appearance ('polish was all') ...read more.

Middle

The sounds in 'the brass/ Salvers and silver bowls' are unwelcoming to the reader, and perhaps betray her disapproving attitude to the shop. But to the grandmother the antiques have great importance. They are 'needed', though never 'used' - they are a substitute for human company, a replacement for love. She takes pride in her possession of them. The speaker's 'wish not to be used/ Like antique objects' is a wish not to be accorded the same kind of attention the antiques receive, and though the grandmother can see her own reflection in the antiques, she is denied the chance to see it in her granddaughter. In fact, beneath the images of polish, silver and brass lies someone who can be 'hurt', who feels though never speaks about how she feels, and who comes to be 'frail'. ...read more.

Conclusion

suggests the memories that the grandmother attaches to these objects, but it also hints at an unfulfilled existence, while 'the shadows.../ That can't be polished' suggest the grandmother's loss of control as she nears death. In the poem's final image, 'the new dust falling through the air', Jennings economically suggests the grandmother's joining of the antiques she devoted her life to. But this image simultaneously reminds us of her absence from the room she once haunted. There is new dust there where once there would only have been polish. The speaker recalls, in this final stanza, her feelings about the death, not grief but guilt. The poem as a whole is characterized by the honesty of its attempt to look back, as an adult, on a relationship that, as a child, was bound up with feelings of fear and guilt. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Sylvia Plath section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Sylvia Plath essays

  1. What happens in the story? Superman and Paula Brown's New Snowsuit is a short ...

    For most students there will be little or no difference between what you do for English and what you do for English literature. In the UK these are seen as different subjects, with slightly different emphases. For English you are expected to understand the meaning and implications of a text.

  2. My Grandmother By Elizabeth Jennings

    ('The smell of absences where shadows come that can't be polished') I get the feeling that the grandmother is perhaps more lonely by the third stanza because the reflection that she once used to look at, is not there anymore.

  1. Compare and contrast Sylvia Plath 'Blackberrying', Sylvia Plath 'Mirror' and Elizabeth Jennings 'My Grandmother' ...

    She repeats the word protesting in line 13 as if she's asking why me, meaning she is obviously very upset or depressed about something in her life. There is a definite mood change in the last stanza, it is shown by the amount of space as she reaches the sea,

  2. A response to 'Daddy' and 'Digging'.

    in the field, stemming from a clear respect for his father, and also a clear love. The intense visual description of his strength -the shaft... Against the inside knee was levered firmly' adds a scrutinising of his father on the speakers part; almost an obsession rooted from a desire to be like him.

  1. Examine the cultural theme of motherhood as portrayed in “You’re” and “Metaphors”.

    This is how she sees herself during pregnancy and this is what she believes other people see as well. She uses images like this throughout both the poems, which add to the complexity and difficulty of understanding her work, however it brings the poem to life when you understand what she is trying to say.

  2. I will be discussing five of them all written post 1900. These poems are ...

    The poem then goes on to tell the story of what happened during the experience. A graphic picture is described, as it is in Heaneys other poem 'Churning Day'. Just as he describes the rat "back bunched and glistening, ears plastered down on his knobbed skull" in 'An Advancement Of

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work