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‘My Grandmother’ – Christopher Rush. Stanza 1. Rush remembers his Grandmother standing at the kitchen sink trying to hold back an asthma attack. I see her now. Rush recalls the scene vividly ‘I’ shows that the poem will be personal ‘her’ the subject of the poem has made a lasting impression.

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Presentation Transcript
stanza 1
Stanza 1
  • Rush remembers his Grandmother standing at the kitchen sink trying to hold back an asthma attack.
i see her now
I see her now
  • Rush recalls the scene vividly
    • ‘I’ shows that the poem will be personal
    • ‘her’ the subject of the poem has made a lasting impression
in her wheezing grey frailty
In her wheezing grey frailty
  • Syntax of metaphor is unusual to place emphasis on ‘frailty’
  • Onomatopoeia – ‘wheezing’ implies breathing difficulties
    • ‘grey’ connotations of old age and hair colour
    • ‘frailty’ connotations of old age, weakness and a delicate thing
clutching hold of her life at the kitchen sink
clutching hold of her life at the kitchen sink;
  • Metaphor – shows that she is struggling to not have an asthma attack/spends a great deal of time at the kitchen sink
    • ‘clutching’ – connotation of desperation and a struggle
    • ‘kitchen sink’ – juxtaposes the seriousness of the event with a mundane object
the noise of her breathing like the sound of the sea
the noise of her breathing like the sound of the sea
  • Simile – breathing rises and falls like the waves and sounds rough/
  • Alliteration – mirrors the sound of the sea
s ucking back shingle
sucking back shingle
  • Alliteration caries on image – her breathing sound like the noise the sea makes is rough and harsh
    • ‘sucking’ breathing carefully
    • ‘shingle’ technical term linked with the sea. Sound of soft sibilant “sh” with harsh guttural “g” sound creates the sound shingle being washed back by the sea and asthma attack
stanza 2
Stanza 2
  • Shows the strength of his Grandmother and how present she was in Rush’s early years
woman of the waves was she
Woman of the waves was she
  • Alliteration – emphasises her close link with the sea working, living beside etc. and relates to breathing in waves of asthma
  • Metaphor – she lived by and worked with the sea in partnership
  • Syntax – inversion places emphasis on “was she”
    • “was she” – speaking directly to the reader, reminiscing and confirming that she is no longer alive
she fought back her asthma
She fought back her asthma
  • Metaphor – shows she is a strong character who would not give in to her condition
    • “fought” shows it was a constant struggle
    • “asthma” confirms that this is why she has breathing problems
s tanding there while i grew up
standing there while I grew up
  • “standing there” – a strong and constant figure
  • “while I grew up” – she was always there for Rush, teaching him and helping
the tides came and went
the tides came and went.
  • “tides” is ambiguous – represents the passing of time or that her breathing difficulties came and went
stanza 3
Stanza 3
  • Describes the grandmother’s role as a fishwife, gutting and preparing the fish.
her fingers flashed silver
Her fingers flashed silver,
  • Alliteration – shows the quickness and deftness of her gutting the fish
  • Metaphor – the knife seems to be part of her showing that she was skilled and had worked on it for years
the gullie terrible in her hand
the gullie terrible in her hand
  • Metaphor – the knife was so sharp it made quick work of the gutting
    • “gullie” – Scots word for large knife, his Grandmother is passing on the Scots language and her knowledge to Rush
    • “terrible” – ambiguous as it means that it was terrible for the fish (it was gutting them) and that it seemed out of place in the grandmother’s hand
she was at home among the herring and flounders and cod
she was at home among the herring and flounders and cod.
  • Metaphor – shows that she was comfortable with the sea and like she was a part of it
  • List of fish shows how much of her time was spent at work – syntax stresses the amount of fish there seemed to be
stanza 4
Stanza 4
  • Rush recalls his fear of the crabs that his grandmother used to cook in a pot to the extent that he had nightmares
the crabs boiled red in the pot
the crabs boiled red in the pot
  • “red” symbolising violence and fear
a stone on its iron lid
a stone on its iron lid
  • Rush’s grandmother helping to calm his fears – reassuring even though the crabs would be dead
to keep from crawling out
to keep from crawling out
  • Alliteration – stresses how frightened rush was
    • “crawling” shows Rush’s fear and how the crabs move to create a tense atmosphere
crawling out into my dreams
crawling out/ into my dreams.
  • Metaphor – shows that Rush had nightmares about the crabs but his grandmother helped to stop them
  • Shows that Rush was young/ childish when this happened
stanza 5
Stanza 5
  • Rush goes into further details of his nightmares as he imagines the crabs tearing him to pieces. Rush states that his grandmother was able to stop these nightmares
eyes that wobbled wickedly on stalks
Eyes that wobbled wickedly on stalks
  • Alliteration – highlights how scary found the eyes of the crabs
  • Metaphor – underlines that Rush thought the crabs as evil creatures and the way their eyes move seems unnatural
    • “stalks” – the eyestalk of the crabs seem thin and delicate
and claws that tore me to gobbets as i lay
and claws that tore me to gobbets as I lay
  • “gobbets” = a piece of meat
  • Rush describing the content of the nightmares
    • “gobbets” guttural ‘g’ sound emphasises the unpleasantness of the dream
drowning drowning she took these terrors away
drowning, drowning – she took these terrors away.
  • Repetition stresses the boy’s fear and powerlessness over the situationand the fact that he struggled for breathe when awaking from the dream
  • His grandmother was able to stop the nightmares
    • “terrors” show how scared Rush was and another word for nightmare or metaphor where the crabs are the “terrors” that are being taken away by his grandmother
stanza 6
Stanza 6
  • Rush’s grandmother teaches him about the fish she is gutting and her generosity is shown.
she showed me st peter s thumb print on the side of the haddock
She showed me St Peter’s thumb-print/ on the side of the haddock.
  • Emphasises the old age of Rush’s grandmother and her knowledge of the fish
  • She is teaching rush about traditions and the ways of the sea
    • “St Peter’s” – patron saint of fishermen
she gave me the top of my grandfather s egg
She gave me the top of my grandfather’s egg.
  • Rush’s grandmother was affectionate and caring
stanza 7
Stanza 7
  • The grandmother is in pain every night because of her asthma and cries
she washed me in the brine of her tears
She washed me in the brine of her tears
  • Metaphor – demonstrates the oneness Rush’s grandmother had with the sea as brine is another term for salt/sea water
  • “washed me” – implies that as Rush hugs his grandmother the tears fall onto him
that she shed nightly
that she shed nightly
  • Alliteration – ‘sh’ soft sibilant sound that mirrors the sound of the sea creating a peaceful scene
stanza 8 she taught me the ways of the sea
Stanza 8 – She taught me the ways of the sea.
  • Personal reflection to show how much knowledge was passed from one generation to another.