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For my-grandmother-knitting-lewis-french

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IGCSE 2017

Published in: Education
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For my-grandmother-knitting-lewis-french

  1. 1. FOR MY GRANDMOTHER KNITTING Liz lochhead
  2. 2. THEME AND LINK TO OTHER POEM • This poem deals with the cruelty and reductiveness of the aging process and invites us to consider the relationship and conflict between the past and the present. • To her own children, the poet’s grandmother is increasingly irrelevant to the world In which they live. For them, knitting is a skill from a past era that they no longer appreciate. This contrasts with the world in which the mother grew up, where knitting was a necessity, not a hobby. • By rejecting the scarves and cardigans which she produces, they unwittingly make her feel increasingly useless and without purpose. • Through the image of skilful hands that knit, that once provided her livelihood, that scrubbed her husband’s back and raised six children the poet presents a different and much fuller depiction of her grandmother • This poem would be make a good comparison with some old photo graphs.
  3. 3. There is no need they say But the needles still move Their rhythms in the working hands As easily As if your hands Were once again those sure and skilful hands Of the fisher-girl Repetition of ‘no need’ emphasises that there really is no need for her to continue doing these things. Also ‘no need’ is said by the speaker straight away in the first line, which immediately tells the reader there is no reason behind the grandmother knitting.
  4. 4. You are old now And your grasp of things is not so good But master of your moments then Deft and swift You slit the still-tickling quick silver fish. Hard work it was too Of necessity. Word choice: ‘grasp’, Not just the physical meaning but more so the mental meaning. Contrasts, saying she can’t do the things she used to anymore. But back then she was more able and do so much more. Showing the negative affects of aging. The sibilance used here shows how squirmy the fish, but furthermore highlights how quick she used to be able to manoeuvre and how quick and useful she used to be. Back when she was younger the work she used to part take in was necessary for her to do, but in present day there isn’t any need for her to continue knitting.
  5. 5. But now they say there is no need As the needles move In the working hands Once the hands of the bride With the hand-span waist Once the hands of the miner’s wife Who scrubbed his back In a tin bath by the coal fire Once the hands of the mother Of six who made do and mended Scraped and slaved slapped sometimes When necessary. Repetition of ‘hands’. Emphasises there many uses in her life. How after all those uses there has to be some form of consequence she has reached the consequence as she can no longer continue to use them the way she used to.
  6. 6. But now they say there is no need The kids they say grandma Have too much already More than they can wear Too many scarves and cardigans – Gran you do too much There’s no necessity… Even the kids are saying they have too much and there is no longer a need for her to continue, but also it shows how much she has done for them.
  7. 7. At your window you wave Them goodbye Sunday. With your painful hands Big on shrunken wrists. Swollen-jointed. Red. Arthritic. Old. But the needles still move. Shows the change that has taken place, puts an image in the readers head of how big the woman's hands have become. Short sentences emphasise how slow she has became, and how she is now short and stilted. Through all the pain she is going through she is still continuing to part take in this ‘hobby’ she has had for years.
  8. 8. Their rhythms in the working of your hands Easily As if your hands remembered Of their own accord the patter As if your hands had forgotten How to stop. Hints at a form of muscle memory as though that’s all she can remember doing and that is shown through “as if her hands remembered” She has done it for so long, she has gained a rhythm to what she does. Word choice: “easily” emphasises the idea that knitting now comes naturally, whereas knitting for a beginner is very difficult its is now easy for her to do.

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