Nikki Giovanni Legacy Poem Analysis

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In Nikki Giovanni’s poem, “Legacy”, the speaker shares a message through the eyes of a grandmother and a granddaughter who have thoughts about the role of legacy, family bonds, and respect, but do not openly share them as they talk to each other. The poem is a short arrangement of sentences which depict one interaction between the 2 characters, but is meant to set the stage for establishing the pattern of communication between generations. The setting is probably a fall day before a holiday where the children are outside playing and the grandmother is inside baking some items for an upcoming family gathering. The grandmother has a history of baking and these rolls are an example of something that she prepares for the family that they enjoy and are part of her identity. The grandmother has great pride in the rolls and wants to make sure that the family continues to be able to enjoy them long after she is gone by passing it down to her granddaughter: “I want chu to learn to make these rolls” (line 3). Although this is a straight forward request of the granddaughter, it really is much more. The grandmother is acknowledging…show more content…
Instead the author, Giovanni, allows them to have a shallow conversation with very few expressed words. Behind the simple words, there are more complex issues being harbored by both the grandmother and granddaughter. There are some key words in the poem such as “proud” (5) that describes how the grandmother felt about her rolls and “dependent” (9) that describes how the family needs the grandmother and her traditions. Also, the whole poem centers around the rolls of the grandmother, but it really centers around family bonds and traditions. These words, although key, are never share directly between the grandmother and granddaughter. The issue that is that legacies that are deemed important and esteemed by one generation may not be as valued by the next
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