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 God has been replaced by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
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.
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
Alliteration is used to reflect the sound of the wind from her grandmother’s
The repetition of similar consonants at the beginning of words put close to
Grandma weren’t you flustered
As you fluttered with paper fans?
Contemporary. Followed no rhyme scheme.
This poem is a good introduction for contemporary poem.
Pun is used as an irony as the usage of air-conditioner is causing harm to the
nature as we enjoy the cool air.
Heir conditioning and air-conditioning
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
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.
Words or ideas that are emphasized to show the importance of a certain
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.
The style use is simple but rich in contrast.
The lines in the poem are presented in a non standard tradition of
The poem is presented in 9 lines in the first stanza.
The second stanza contains 10 lines.
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
An expression of meaning often humorous or sarcastic, by the use of language
of a different or opposite tendency
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.