poem - the living photograph

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POEM : THE LIVING PHOTOGRAPHBY : JACKIE KAYMy small grandmother is tall there,straight-back, white broderie anglaise shirt,pleated skirt, flat shoes, grey bun,a kind, old smile round her eyes.Her big hand holds mine,white hand in black hand.Her sharp blue eyes look her own death in the eye.

It was true after all that look.My tall grandmother became small.Her back round and hunched.Her soup forgot to boil.She went to the awful place grandmothers go.Somewhere unknown, unthinkable.

But there she is still,in the photo with me at three,the crinkled smile is still living, breathing.

BackgroundPoet name : Jackie KayBorn : Edinburg, Scotland in 1961Notable works : The Adoption PapersAwards : 1) Saltire Society Scottish First Book Award (1991) 2) Somerset Maugham Award (1994) 3) Guardian First Book Award Fiction PrizeOccupation : A professor of creative writing at Newcastle University.SettingTime : The poem was written when the persona has grown up.Place : At the family home.Persona The persona is the poet herself.She is looking at an old photograph and is swept away by memories of her late grandmother.Tone & Mood ToneDescriptiveSadReminiscingMoodSadReflectiveThemesMemorise are to be treasuredLooking at old photograph brings back many treasured memories especially those of family members.Death is a part of lifeDeath is an inevitable part of life. Ageing process affected the grandmother until she eventually passes away.Moral ValuesWe must treasure our loved ones while they are alive.We must try to accept that death is a part of life.We must value the importance of family relationships.Literary DevicesImageryImagery is the used of words that enable the reader to visualise a person or a scene.In the first stanza, the poet describes her grandmother in the photograph so vividly that the reader is able to imagine what she looks like.My small grandmother is tall there,Straight-back, white broderie anglaise shirt,Pleated skirt, flat shoes, grey bun,A kind, old smile around her eyes.Literary DevicesContrastContrast refer to the differences between two things.In the first stanza, the poet describes her grandmother when she is strong and healthy. In contrast, the second stanza shows her getting older and weaker, and eventually passing away.ContrastFirst stanzaSecond stanzaMy small grandmother is tall there, Straight-back, white broderie anglaise shirt,Pleated skirt, flat shoes, grey bun,A kind, old smile around her eyes.

My tall grandmother become small.Her back round and hunched.Her soup forgot to boil.She went to the awful place grandmothers go.Literary DevicesPersonaficationHer soup forgot to boil Meaning : grandmother has become forgetful.The crinkled smile is still living, breathing Meaning : grandmothers smile looks so alive in the photograph.Literary DevicesSymbolismSymbolism means the use of objects, plants, or animals to represent something else.The photograph represent the memories the persona has of her late grandmother. Literary DevicesIronyIrony refers to the use of words to mean something very different from what they appear to be.The irony is in the title itself. The Living Photograph, which seems to suggest that the grandmother is still alive, in reality she is actually dead. Literary DevicesForeshadowingForeshadowing means a warning or indication of a future event.Last line in the first stanza her sharp blue eyes look her own death in the eye foreshadows what is to happen next. This prove to be true because in the next stanza, the grandmother dies.SummaryThe poem consists of ____________ lines. There are _______ lines in stanza ____, _______ lines in stanza ____ and _____ lines in stanza _____. It is written in ____________ verse where there is no rhyme scheme. The poet delivers the poem in narrative style using the ____________ person point of view. The poem is most likely based on the poets own ___________________. Thus the ________________ could be the poet herself. In the poem, the persona is looking at an old photograph of herself with her _______________________. It brought back memories of a specific time when her grandmother was alive and well. Although, her grandmother has since __________________________, when the persona looks at the photograph, she feels the presence of her grandmother as if she is still alive. 162617firstfree33personaexperiencepassed away/deadgrandmotherPractice 1tall therewhite hand in black handcrinkled smilestill livingsoup forgot to boilphotoher sharp blue eyes look her own death in the eyeStraight-back, white broderie anglaise shirt, pleated skirt, flat shoes, grey bun


Practice 2Phrases

tall there, straight backgrey bunwhite hand in black handback round and hunchedlook death in the eyebut there she is stillMeaning

A white person e.g. an English man with a black person e.g. a NigerianBut, contrary to what you think , she is still alive.An old person with a bent back A person with height and has a good postureWhite greying hair tied back like a bunTo accept the fact that one is going to die

Practice 5SkirtShirtBig handBlack handSmallRoundAwfulGrey bunFlat shoesphoto

Practice 3Broderie anglaiseshirtKind, oldsmileRound and hunchedbackUnknown,unthinkableplaceLiving, breathingsmileSharp, blueeyesPleatedskirtGreybunFlatshoesLivingphotographPractice 4Who wrote the poem?Jackie Kay.To whom do you think the title of the poem relate to?The personas grandmother.Practice 4Describe the personas grandmother:Dressing what did she wear?A white broderie anglaise shirt and pleated skirt.Physical appearance In verse 1, how did the persona describe her grandmother?Tall and straight-back.Facial expression How did her grandmother look?Kind, smiling and pleasant looking.Eyes what colour were her eyes?Blue.What is the skin colour of the persona and grandmother?Black and white.

Practice 4What happened to her grandmothers physical appearance as she aged?She became small and short with her back round and hunched.How does the persona describe the other world? How does this reflect the personas perception of life after death?It is described as awful, unknown and unthinkable. I think she feels the other world is a terrible unknown place and she cannot understand the living condition there.Practice 4Answer the following questions about the photograph.Who are in the photograph?The persona and her grandmother.How old was the persona when the photograph was taken?Three years old.SPM Practices

SPM PracticesIn stanza 1, which words mean open embroidery on white linen?Broderie anglaise.Describe the grandmothers skirt and shoes?The skirt was pleated and the shoes were flat.SPM PracticesWhy do you think the grandmother forgot to boil the soup?I think she was getting old and forgetful.Look her own death in the eye where do you think the persona was when the grandmother passed away? Provide a reason for your answer.Where : By the grandmothers side.Reason : The persona mentions her big hands hold mine.


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