Heir Conditioning (Note 1)


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Notes on Heir Conditioning Poem. (synopsis, themes and literary devices)

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Heir Conditioning (Note 1)

  1. 1. SYNOPSIS This poem is written in London, May 4, 1995. It talks about issues regarding different lifestyles and values of two generations. It also talks about the generation gap that exists between grandparents and their grandchildren. This poem is like a dialogue between them. In the first stanza, the grandchild asks his grandfather if he could breathe without air conditioner and how people manage to survive without modern devices such as air conditioners, fans, faxes and telephones. The child asks his grandmother if she was uncomfortable fanning herself with paper fans. He inquisitively questions how they could communicate without today’s modern media of communication which he cannot do without. In the second stanza, the grandparents’ answer sets the two generations apart. Though they lived void of the ‘basic necessities’, they lived contentedly and respected nature. Also, they were God- fearing people. The grandparents warn the younger generations that they have inherited much technological advancement and it has led to a separation from his spiritual well-being. God has been replaced by money and nature has begun to fear man. Natural surroundings are being taken over by rapid development and that has led to pollution, deforestation and destruction of natural habitats that now threatens man. ELEMENTS TITLE The title implies the transfer of a generation and highlights the gap that existed and apparent in societies today. This gap existed due to he results of the conditioning affect that took place in the name of development and modern times. THEMES Progress comes with a pride Modern man has more needs and wants compared to the older generation. Man’s ability to invent and create has led to an era of advanced technology. On the surface, man seems to have progressed but in reality, is it worth it? Man has to pay a price for progress. Too much development has lead to ‘pollution, stress, traffic jams, destruction of forests, streams and hills’. These backlashes of development are problems that greatly affect the quality of life. Differences between two generations The different views of two generations are presented through the dialogue between a grandchild and his grandparents. Life for the grandparents then was definitely much simpler and easier. They had fewer needs and wants. The old folks were contented with the basic needs and they were free from stress and pollution. The younger generation is more materialistic and more advanced in technology. The grandchild is living in a world that is dependent on modern gadgets which the younger generation cannot do without. Life is more complicated and expensive. More and more money has to be made to finance this modern lifestyle. As a result, man has no respect for nature. Nature is destroyed unscrupulously in the name of development and modern society is plagued by emotional and environmental problems. Challenges in life The challenges of the modern man are: • To minimize dependence on modern gadgets like handphones, computers, fax machines and air conditioners • To preserve the environment The challenges of the older generation are: • living in a world without modern inventions • coping with progress • accepting the younger generation’s craving for material wealth and comforts Literary devices
  2. 2. Alliteration Alliteration is used to reflect the sound of the wind from her grandmother’s paper fans The repetition of similar consonants at the beginning of words put close to each other. Example: Consonant: /f/ Grandma weren’t you flustered As you fluttered with paper fans? Rhyme Scheme Contemporary. Followed no rhyme scheme. This poem is a good introduction for contemporary poem. Pun Pun is used as an irony as the usage of air-conditioner is causing harm to the nature as we enjoy the cool air. Example: Heir conditioning and air-conditioning Heir An heir is a person who will legally receive money, property or a title from another person, especially an older member of the same family, when that other person dies; someone who now has the responsibility for dealing with a problem or situation that existed or was created earlier. Condition/ Conditioning (INFLUENCE) It is to train or influence a person or animal mentally so that they do or expect a particular thing without thinking about it. Repetition Words or ideas that are emphasized to show the importance of a certain concept Example: Line 1- 9 : You” Line 10- 18 : “We” Line 18- 20 : “You & We”. Here the poet emphasize the word “you”, focusing all attention to the grandparents. Also signify blaming; “you” as pinpointing. Style The style use is simple but rich in contrast. Example: The lines in the poem are presented in a non standard tradition of style. The poem is presented in 9 lines in the first stanza. The second stanza contains 10 lines. Tone This poem has a rather serious and sarcastic tone. This is because the use of all these technological appliances that are supposed to make our lives more comfortable is actually destroying the world we live in. The tone of the grandchild (line 1-9) poses question. The tone is puzzle. The grandchild saw nothing good of those times. The tone here is “ignorant, and looking down”. Blatant with a series of stupid questions. The tone is anticipation of trivial answers. The tone of the Grandparents (line 10-18) reflect a “more experienced” that the grandchild did not have the privilege and contrarily should not look down towards. The tone argues that despite the grandchild’s “backwards” view towards them, wonderful experience is evident at the time. The tone here also suggests wisdom, as a sharp contrast to the ignorance. The tone here suggests their perception of wrongful ideas followed by youngsters today. Irony An expression of meaning often humorous or sarcastic, by the use of language of a different or opposite tendency Example: In this poem, the poet highlights the comforts of modernization (telephones, air-conditioner and modern transportation), and the consequences (stress, consequences of traffic jams and pollution) they have brought unto us.