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Gary Soto Behind Grandma's House Analysis

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In his poem “Behind Grandma’s House,” Gary Soto details the life and daily routine of a somewhat masochistic ten year old boy as he kicks over trash cans, terrorizes cats, and drowns ant colonies with his own urine. In many ways the boy acts as any other boy his age would be expected to, but he tends to go further than most young boys with his actions and descriptions of how he feels. This extra violence and destructive tendency the narrator exhibits can lead the reader to believe that, rather than being a typical child, he strongly craves attention due to his circumstances, and he is willing to act out and act obscenely in order to receive that attention. Throughout the poem the narrator details all the things he does to prove how tough he is, many…show more content…
The speaker’s grandmother is originally presented in a way that causes the ending to be a surprise, saying, “Her apron flapping in a breeze, her hair mussed, and said, ‘Let me help you’” (21-22). The imagery of the apron blowing in the wind characterizes her as calm, and when she offers to help her grandson, she seems to be caring and helpful. Once she punches the speaker, this description of her changes entirely from one of serenity and care to a sarcastic description with much more meaning than before. The fact that the grandmother handles her grandson’s behavior in this witty, decisive way raises the possibility that this behavior is very common and she has grown accustomed to handling it in a way that she deems to be effective; however, it is clearly an ineffective method, evidenced by the continued behavior that causes her to punish the speaker in this manner in the first place. It is likely ineffective not because the speaker is not learning about the consequences for his actions, but rather because he
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