Poem Analysis: For My Grandmother Knitting

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The poem “For my Grandmother Knitting” tells the story of a grandmother facing abandonment as she finds herself fading to irrelevance in the eyes of society and her family. It also explores the grandmothers’ helplessness as she struggles through her pain to try and adapt to changing times. Written with very simple diction, the poet shows the rejection projected by the family onto the grandmothers knitting and how it may affect her, by using stylistic techniques such as juxtaposition and symbolism, as well as utilizing imagery in the descriptive syntax of the poem.
The juxtaposition used by the poet moves through the past and present of the grandmothers’ life using her hands as a symbol to explore her changing roles over time and to show the reader how hard she has had to work all her life. The progression of the young “hands of the bride” to the hard working “hands of a miner’s wife” that also became “the hands of a mother of six” describes the sort of life the grandmother led, constantly at
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They do not realize how hard it is for her to adjust to her sudden irrelevance in their lives, in society. They do not realize that she often hears the phrase “you are old now”, as a reminder to her to put her back in her place as a useless member of society who can no longer work or earn, and is no longer appreciated by her family. The precision and speed required in the “hard work it was too” to be a fisherwoman, to “slit the still ticking quicksilver fish” and the independence the assonance of the letter “I” implies she held, is mocked. The word “was” speaking for society as they tell her that all she was is now in the past, her life’s work as irrelevant as she is now, making the little knitting work she does do the most important work of her
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