In Literature, we read the poem by Liz Liz “For My Grandmother Knitting” and analysed the poem as a whole and separately each stanza. It talks about the different stages of life of a elderly aged woman who unlike what her previous youth years, she now feels useless as she belonged to other times; the past.
After analysing this poem, we were asked to write an essay by choosing one essay question from the various options that the professor posted in her blog:
1. Comment closely on how the writer deals with respect and admiration in the poem “For My Grandmother Knitting”.
2. Comment closely on how the generation gap affect the relationship in the family in the poem “For My Grandmother Knitting”.
3. ‘How does Liz Lochhead powerfully covey her feelings about her Grandmother?’
I chose the second one and my essay is the following:
Comment closely on how the generation gap affect the relationship in the family in the poem “For My Grandmother Knitting”.
The poem “For My Grandmother Knitting”, written by Liz Lochhead, tackles the generation gap between a grandmother and her children which creates conflict in their relationship. This is done mainly by analysing the appreciation and need of knitting from the past and its non-essentialness from the present times.
On the one hand, in the past, knitting was a necessity, while, at the present, there are machines that can do the job. The grandmother belongs to the era based in austerity and hard work, as opposed to the stability, comfort and quality of life of modernity, her children’s life. A refrain repeated in the four stanzas of the poem emphasises this; “There is no need they say”. The distanced children reinforce that the grandmother’s tradition of knitting clothes for her grandchildren is not necessary anymore, now they can be bought.
On the other hand, her children fail to understand that although knitting is no longer a necessity, it is still hers. Reaching an old age is cruel and reductive, for the grandmother starts to lose her “grasp of things”. Her hands are less skillful the same way that her mind is slower. Therefore, knitting not only makes her feel useful and helpful but furthermore it symbolises her still being alive, part of this world. This way, the fact of the children rejecting the scarves and cardigans that she knits equals to the act of rejecting her self, making her feel useless.
All in all, throughout the poem it is dealt with the relationship between a grandmother and her children which is affected by the generation gap between them. This is either because of the need of knitting from the past compared to its futility from nowadays, and because of the children’s not understanding of her necessity to knit.
By: Anouk de Laferrere