GrandMother Summary | Heritage Of Words | Class XII English Summary

GrandMother

Author:- Ray Young Bear

GrandMother Summary | Heritage Of Words | Class XII  English Summary

 "Grandmother" is written in a nostalgic tone. In the poem, the poet has tried to manifest his intimate relation with his grandmother. The love and affection that she showed towards him in his childhood (it is obvious she is no more with the poet), is still imprinted on his mind and heart. To depict the closeness of their relation the poet has successfully utilized two new tools in the poem

  • Conditional sentences, and
  • Sensuous images.

The poet boasts that he was so intimate to his grandmother that if he got even a glimpse of her from miles away, his sense of sight would immediately recognize that it was his grandmother by observing her purple scarf and the plastic shopping bag. He was so familiar with her that he could also distinguish that the “warm and damp” hands that were put on his head were of nobody else but of his grandmother. It was not that he could only use his sense of sight or sense of touch to identify his grandmother. His sense of smell and sense of hearing was also equally capable of recognizing her. He could recognize his grandmother from “the smell of roots” that her hands gave off.

Most importantly, the words of his grandmother were a source of inspiration for him. When he used to hear her words, they used to flow inside his body and revive his lost strength and vigor. He has compared its effect with stirring the ashes of sleeping fire to regenerate fire. Fire is the source of energy, light, and clarity. Similarly, when the poet used to hear her words it used to fill him with new energy, hope, and erase all his confusions. In other words, her advice was a source of motivation for him.

Important Exam Oriented Questions & Answers 

Q1. What is the main idea of the poem?

Nostalgia is the main theme of the poem Grandmother. In this poem, the poet remembers his dead grandmother and writes about her. He draws a picture of his grandmother- all-loving and inspiring. This poem presents the poet's deep sense of intimacy and closeness to his grandmother even after her death. He can not forget her. He could recognize her by all senses except taste. The poet uses different images to draw the picture of his grandmother. 'Purple scarf ' and 'plastic shopping bag' are related to eyes, while the touch of warm and damp’ hands appeals to skin or touch. A 'voice coming from a rock' is related to the sense of hearing, and her hands like that of 'roots' appeal to the sense of smell.

 Q2. What impression of grandmother does the speaker give in the poem 'Grandmother'?

The speaker gives the all-loving and all-inspiring impression of his grandmother in this poem. He feels as if her memory is flowing inside him. He feels as if her memory gives sparkles like the ashes give at night. He remembers her purple scarf and her plastic shopping bag. He remembers her warm and damp hand with the smell of roots. The poet presents a deep sense of intimacy and closeness to his grandmother even after her death. He can not forget her.

Q3. What are the four things that Ray Young Bear remembers about his grandmother?

In this nostalgic poem “Grandmother” the poet Ray Young Bear remembers his dead grandmother and draws her picture by using four types of images. The things that Ray Young Bear remembers about his grandmother are her shape with her purple scarf and plastic shopping bag, warm and damp hands, the smell of roots from her hand, and her inspiring voice.

Q4. What is the image? What four images are used in the poem Grandmother?

Image is a kind of literary device. It is a mental picture created by words. Ray Young Bear has used four types of images out of five in this poem “Grandmother” to draw the picture of his dead grandmother. At first, he talks about purple scarves and plastic shopping bags as visual images. Then, he talks about warm and damp hands to appeal to our sense of touch. He says about the smell of roots from her hands as the image of smell. He talks about her voice or words to appeal to our sense of hearing. He is successful to create a word picture of his grandmother by using four types of images. He doesn’t talk about the taste.

Q5. What images do you find in this poem written by a member of the Sauk and Fox (Meskwaki) Indian tribe of North America? To what senses do these images appeal?

The poet has used images to discover two intertwined themes - recollection of his grandmother at one level and search for identity at another level. The images like 'purple scarf', 'plastic shopping bag', 'the light ... at night ' appeal to our sense of sight. These images also have a symbolic link to Indian culture. 'Plastic shopping bag' indicates the poverty of the Indian tribes. 'The light .... at night' associates that the spirituality of Indian culture guides him in the modern corrupt American society. The images like 'smell of root' appeal to our sense of smell. It indicates the work ethic of an Indian tribe and his grandmother. They are near to nature and are good farmers. 'Warm and damp hands' appeal to our sense of touch. It also shows how his grandmother and Indian tribes work in fields with pleasure and a sense of duty. ' A voice' and 'her words' appeal to our sense of hearing. This indicates how the teachings and philosophy of Indian culture enlighten his spirits.

Thus by the use of images, the poet has symbolically linked his grandmother to the lost culture of an Indian tribe.

Long Question

Interpret the poem Grandmother

Nostalgia is the main theme of the poem Grandmother. In this poem, the poet remembers his dead grandmother and writes about her. He draws a picture of his grandmother- all-loving and inspiring. This poem presents the poet's deep sense of intimacy and closeness to his grandmother even after her death. He can not forget her. He could recognize her by all senses except taste. The poet uses different images to draw the picture of his grandmother. 'Purple scarf ' and 'plastic shopping bag' are related to eyes, while the touch of warm and damp’ hands appeals to skin or touch. A 'voice coming from a rock' is related to the sense of hearing, and her hands like that of 'roots' appeal to the sense of smell.

The poet says that he could recognize his grandmother If he could see her face from a distance, from a mile away.  He would quickly know that it was his grandmother with the purple scarf and plastic shopping bag. If he could feel hands on his head, he would know her warm and damp hands. They were warm with love. He says he feels the smell of roots from her hands. If he could hear a voice coming from the rock he would know that it was my grandmother’s voice. He would feel her words flowing inside him. The flow of her words would be like the light coming out of the sleeping fire at night. The poet says that her voice would be the source of inspiration for him. The memory of his grandmother takes the poet back to his childhood when she used to love him very much. Though the poet’s grandmother left him many years before, her images, voice, love, inspiration, and memory are still animating in the mind and heart of the poet. Likewise, the activities, behaviors, shapes and so many other memory of his grandmother are the source of living which encourages him at all the moment. He has used four types of images out of five in this poem “Grandmother” to draw the picture of his dead grandmother. At first, he talks about purple scarves and plastic shopping bags as a visual image. Then, he talks about warm and damp hands to appeal to our sense of touch. He says about the smell of roots from her hands as the image of smell. He talks about her voice or words to appeal to our sense of hearing. He is successful to create a word picture of his grandmother by using four types of images. He doesn’t talk about the taste.

In conclusion, the poet draws the picture of his grandmother in this poem by using four types of images out of five.

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