Relationships in Long Distance by Tony Harrison and My Grandmother by Elizabeth Jennings

Relationships in Long Distance by Tony Harrison and My Grandmother by Elizabeth Jennings

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Relationships in Long Distance by Tony Harrison and My Grandmother by Elizabeth Jennings

The two poems that I wish to compare are both about relationships,
"Long distance" by Tony Harrison and "My grandmother" by Elizabeth
Jennings. Both are about family and grief which they explore through
the theme of death. The speaker of the poems talks about the loss of a
relationship that had once existed. "Long distance" has a much closer
relationship theme than "My grandmother". Long distance focuses on
love that does not end with death and it continues however "My
grandmother" focuses on the miss of love that could have been there.

Both of the two poems are about the lack of acceptance and memory. In
"Long Distance" the father who kept the dead wife's memory so alive:
'Still went to renew her transport pass. In "My grandmother" the
rejection of the grandchild is also perhaps considered as a memory
however as regret: 'I remember how I once refused'. "Long Distance"
looks at the time and how the poet's father has lack of control of the
time: "mother was already two years dead, Dad kept her slippers'. The
'antiques' from "my Grandmother" can be also be compared to the use of
objects from the past and how it can be kept forever, nevertheless
it's not possible to do so with people, because they die but they
would be kept as a memory.

The tones of the poems are quite different to one another but have one
thing in common which was love that was given to two dissimilar
things. "My Grandmother" shows resentment and guilt, the grandmother
did not invest her time in her grandchild or anyone as she was
preoccupied with her antiques "it kept her". She...


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but not as the role she should have played in the poet's life and the
relationship that should have been there, but which the poet regrets.

"Long distance" is a metaphor that is being used as the title of the
poem. The people who have died are actually gone however it's not the
end and the relationship that is going on is a distant relationship
which they shall never see each of them again. 'the disconnected
number I still call' is ambiguous, the poet either rings the father
not realizing he's dead, or rings to talk but he's not there.

Both poems look at the remembrance deeply "long distance" the memory
of them in his mind 'my new black leather phone book there's your
name' and in "My grandmother" the grief the poet did not have over her
death but the memory of 'things she never used but needed', the
antiques.

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