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

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  • Essay length: 606 words
  • Submitted: 20/02/2004
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GCSE Sylvia Plath

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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') not with deep human feelings ('there was no need of love'). Her solitariness is suggested in the fact that it is only 'her own reflection' she sees reflected in the antiques. It is these she lives 'among', not people. The antiques themselves create an oppressive atmosphere - they are 'faded' and 'heavy' in this stanza, and in

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