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Praise Song for my Mother by Grace Nichols Analysis

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Transfer-Encoding: chunked Praise Song for my Mother ? Grace Nichols What are the poet?s feelings about family and how does she convey these ideas? Grace Nichols writes Praise Song for my mother as ode, or letter, as a celebration of her mother. Having moved from Guyana to the UK, the ?ode? is in a Caribbean style, praising her mother for all that she has done. Nichols writes about what family is, and what it means to her, and the poem seems to be positive, in adoration of her mother, but there are also other standpoints that say the poem could have a deeper, negative meaning. Nichols conveys the powerful, protective love that she receives from her mother in the poem in a variety of ways. She writes that she was ?water to [her], deep and bold and fathoming?. As water is a necessity to live, she creates the image that her mother was a necessity to her life, and that she ?couldn?t live without her?. ...read more.


The phrase ?you were water to me? initially seems positive, but when paired with ?deep and bold and fathoming?, makes the reader think that there was possible ?too much water?, and that Nichols? mother was possibly overprotective or that she enveloped Nichols in her care. The words ?deep? and ?bold? make you think of the ocean, and possibly that she was drowning in it. In addition, Nichols writes ?go to your wide futures, you said?. This initially strikes the reader as a message of hope from Nichols? mother, that she wanted her children to go out into the world and grow. The fact that ?futures? is plural, shows that there is essentially a ?world of oppurtunities? available, rather than a controlled, decided future. However, this may have been written as a sarcastic ?you said?, showing that Nichols? mother expected too much of them, and that life is actually much harder than going ?out to your wide futures?. This resentment may be a product of Nichols? mother being overprotective, and not allowing her to learn on her own, and being overprotective. ...read more.


The poem itself is very orderly for the first three stanzas, with same sized lines, but the fourth stanza is one line longer, this line being longer still, and then the fifth stanza being one line only. This poem could possibly portray a ladder or staircase, symbolising the ?steps? to adulthood and success. As the poem is about Nichols? mother, this could be creating the image that her mother was the aid to her success. This is all the picture of how family is a sort of nutrition and aid to life. Overall, Grace Nichols provides many different standpoints on the importance of family in ?Praise Song for my Mother?. Although it is written as a positive poem of ?celebration? of her mother, there could also be more negative standpoints and alternative views, highlighting possible sarcasm in the poem. In conclusion, Nichols seems to generally have very positive views on family and uses lots of metaphorical language to create the image that her mother was ?everything? to her?. She also uses literary techniques to showcase her memories of childhood, and the importance of family in her upbringing. ...read more.

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