The Grandmother

Ray young bear is an American Indian poet and novelist Ray young Bear looks for distinct identity of his Native American people. The poem grandmother is not only written to describe his grandmother, he wrote it to address the Indian culture and tradition identity in the vast American society. In this poem Grandmother the poet has been searching for the identity of Native American when European white people invader the American land the culture of the Native American people has been suppressed. The poet symbolically express his painful experience of loss of tradition and cultural value. At the same time she symbolically connection to the oldest part of the earth, cultural identity of Mesqualcitribe.

            The poem Grandmother is the representative text of Native American .He clearly brings out the image of his grandmother to show the cultural value of native American people. He recognize his grandmother even from a far mile distance . Symbolically the poet said that although the cultural believer , value, norms of Red Indian people remain on the sensible, the poet easily experienced the effect of it grandmother would be wearing the purple scarf round her neck and carrying a plastic shopping basket in her hand here the Grandmother appeals the sense of touch. She would put her hands on his head , warm and damp, and a smell of roots of native tribe . He knows his grandmother hearing the a voice coming from the rocks.

Although his grandmother has already been died, the poet feels the effect of her moral lesson through his life as a great inspiration. In the poem the poet brings the term night. Here night refers to the semi part  of American main  stream culture . The poet visualizes string as at night time Although it has been subdued by colonizers culture it may take its own shape at any type and it will cover the whole American . Overall the poem give a metamorphic expression of the painful awareness of the identity loss.

The poem in sense deals with images that appear to our different

Senses .For instance the images of purple scarf plastic shopping bag , sleeping  fire and a night appeal to our sense of sight. The smell of roots refers to our sense of smell.  Similarly, the voice coming from rock and her words appeals to our sense of touch Thus, all his senses are affected by the memory of his grandmother excepting the sense of touch..

            The most striking images in this poem are purple scarf, plastic shopping bag, roots, sleeping fire and a picture of grandmother. The root is symbol of past heritage. He has a strong positive feeling towards grandmothers. He respects her, admires her. Thus, the poem is a tribute to grandmother and his culture. 

Answer the following questions:

  1. Give a short summary of the poem ‘Grandmother’.
  2. What is the main idea of the poem ‘Grandmother’ by Ray Young Bear?

Ans:  See the summary above.

  1. What are the four things that Ray Young Bear remembers about his grandmother?
  2. What impression of grandmother does the speaker give in the poem ‘Grandmother’?

Ray Young Bear learned English from his maternal Grandmother. This poem first published in 1975 is from his real experiences with his grandmother. 

Ray Young Bear remembers the soft touch of his grandmother on his head. Her mellifluous voice is the other thing that reminds him of his grandmother. Similarly she would always carry a plastic shopping bag and her usual dress was a purple scarf.

The poet heard a voice coming from the rock which tell him about his grandmother. The smell of the root from the hands of his grandmother also gives him a positive impression of his grandmother. All these things are deeply rooted in his mind as an indelible impression

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