Monday, 5 October 2015

FORM FOUR 2015: A POISON TREE- THE LIVING PHOTOGRAPH

The Living Photograph

The Living Photograph
My 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 the 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.
Jackie Kay
 
The poet's name is Jackie Kay which was born  November 9 1961 in Edinburgh, Scotland to a Scottish mother and a Nigerian father. Her parents gave her away for adoption to white Scottish parents (John and Helen Kay) who brought her up in Glasgow with great affection. The grandmother in the poem above was her adoptive grandmother who also loved her as much as her biological parents. Thus, from an early age, Jackie Kay was often baffled by her ethnic identity as she looked "coloured" compared to her adoptive "white" grandmother and adoptive parents. This poem, like many other by Jackie Kay, reflects her generally happy, childhood, as well as her concerns about her true 'biracial' ethnic identity.


About the poem
The persona captured two images of her adoptive grandmother -one seen in the photograph when the persona was three years old and another image of her grandmother as the lady became older and finally passed away. The persona resonates with the memories of many young people who have lost their beloved grandparents. 
Theme
1. Appreciation and affection for a grandparent
2. Search for the persona's identity
3. The mystery of ageing and death
4. Filial piety ( Virtue respect for one's ancestor )
Moral Value
1. Filial piety
2. Inter-racial harmony
Tone/Mood of Poem
The poet used childlike voice but with confident and optimistic despite her reference to the grandmother's death.
Persona or Speaker

The persona in the poem is a child who grows from the age of three in the photograph to a more mature age.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G7Kx6Rjkm9k


Exercise 1
Complete the poem.  Try not to refer to the text.  

The Living Photograph
My small grandmother is tall there,
straight-back, white broderie anglaise (1)___________________,
pleated (2)____________, flat shoes, grey bun,
a kind, old (3)_________ round her eyes.
Her big hand (4)____________mine,
white hand in black hand.
Her sharp blue eyes look her own (5) ______________ in the eye.
            It was (6) __________ after all; that look.
            My tall grandmother became small.
            Her back round and (7) _____________.
            Her (8) _____________ forgot to boil.
            She went to the (9) ____________ place grandmothers go.
            Somewhere unknown, (10) ___________.
But there she is still,
in the photo with me at (11)____________,
the crinkled smile is still (12) _____________ , breathing.


Exercise 2
Complete the bridge map with the antonyms to the words given.
1.   true                Antonym: ______________
2.   sharp             Antonym: ____________ 
3.  forgot             Antonym: ______________
4.   awful             Antonym: ______________
      


Exercise 3
Read the following statements and state whether they are “True” or “False”.
1.       The persona recollects the memories of her grandmother as she looks at the photograph.
(___________)          
2.      The persona’s grandmother is still living with her.
(___________)
3.      The grandmother seems to be a friendly and kind woman.
(___________)
4.      The persona is three years old when her grandmother dies.
(___________)
5.      The grandmother remains strong and healthy until her death.
(___________)
6.      In the photograph, the grandmother will always be alive.
(___________)

Exercise 4
Answer the following questions based on your understanding of the poem.
1.       How old was the persona when the photograph was taken?

2.      Which line in the poem tells us the grandmother has become forgetful?

3.      The grandmother seems to be a friendly and kind woman.

4.      The persona is three years old when her grandmother dies.

5.      The grandmother remains strong and healthy until her death.

6.       Give one moral value one can learn from the poem.



Exercise 5
Answer all the questions.
1.      List down 3 themes of the poem?

2.      Give 4 moral values that are found in the poem.

3.      How do you think of the persona feels towards her grandmother?  Support your answer with evidence from the poem.

4.      “A picture speaks a thousand words” is a common proverb.  How would you relate this to the poem “The Living Photograph”?

Exercise 6
Read the questions carefully and answer all the questions.
1.      Sometimes an elderly member of the family is sent to a nursing home.  Do you agree with this practice?  Provide your reason.

2.       If you were to take care of your grandmother for a day, what would you do to make her experience an unforgettable one?

Answers
Exercise 1

1.      Shirt          
2.      Skirt            
3.      Smile 
4.      Holds       
5.      Death   
6.      True          
7.      Hunched   
8.      Soup
9.      Awful       
10.  Unthinkable    
11.  Three       
12.  Living

Exercise 2
1.      false   
2.      dull       
3.      remembered    
4.      Beautiful
Exercise 3
1.      True
2.      False
3.      True
4.      False
5.      False
6.      True    
Exercise 4
1.       She was three years old
2.      The line, “her soup forgot to boil”
3.      The word “unthinkable”
4.      In the first stanza, the grandmother is strong and healthy in the photograph while in the second stanza the grandmother is older and ill.
5.      The poem is about how a photograph immortalises a person.  This is illustrated in the poem where in real life, the grandmother is dead but with the photograph, she will always be remembered by the persona.
6.      The poem teaches us that we must spend time with our loved ones because when they pass away, all that will be left are the memories of the time spent together.
Exercise 5 & 6
-Accept all correct and acceptable answers-



The Living Photograph by Jackie Kay
1.      List two items ‘grandmother’ wears in the photo.
a)     
b)     

2.      What do you think the writer is referring to in the phrase ‘the awful place grandmothers go?


3.      Why do you think the writer’s ‘small grandmother’ is ‘tall’ in the photo?


4.      In the first stanza, what does the word there refer to?


5.          Which line tells you that the writer and her grandmother come from different ethnic background?


6.      How old was the writer when the photo was taken?

7.     Why do you think the writer says that her grandmother is tall in the photo but later became ‘small’

8. Quote evidence from line 14 to line 16 that the photograph was taken a long time ago.

9.      Explain the meaning of the word ‘crinkled’.


10.  How do these lines make you feel about photographs of people you love?


Answers
1.      a) pleated skirt
b) flat shoes/white broderie anglaise shirt 
2.  The writer is referring to death.
3.         I think it is probably because the photo was taken when the writer’s grandmother was younger.  Her back was not rounded and hunched then, so she looked tall.
4.         It refers to the photograph.
5.         ‘white hand in black hand’
6.         She was three years old.
7.         I think she says that because at the time the photo was taken her grandmother was younger. Her back was straight therefore she seemed taller. It could also be because the writer was very young at the time (only 3 years old).  As her grandmother grew older, her back became ‘round and hunched’. So she appeared ‘small’. The writer would also have grown bigger and taller too, therefore her grandmother no longer appears tall to her.
8.         The persona says that the photograph was taken when he/she was three years old.
9.         Wrinkled
10.       (accept all logical answers)

 www.ppdkp.net/.../downloads/the_living_photograph.docx


The Living Photograph by Jackie Kay My 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.

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The Living Photograph by Jackie Kay My 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.

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The Living Photograph by Jackie Kay My 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.

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The Living Photograph by Jackie Kay My 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.

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5 comments:

  1. Can you give the example answers for the kbat questions ?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Can you give the example answers for the kbat questions?

    ReplyDelete
  3. why do you think the persona describes the place that grandmother go as awful?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Because it was somewhere unknown, unthinkable.

      Delete
    2. It is because she was still young and she finds that death is something scary, which she doesn't understand as a child.

      Delete