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Grandpa's Soup

By Jackie Kay

Rachel Nodding

on 6 May 2013

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Transcript of Grandpa's Soup

By Jackie Kay Grandpa's Soup Jackie Kay was born and brought up in Scotland. She has published five collections of poetry for adults (The Adoption Papers won the Forward Prize, a Saltire Award and a Scottish Arts Council Book Award) and several for children. She was awarded an MBE in 2006. Backgroud info Jackie Kay chose a form for the poem that focuses on three stanzas consisting of 8, 13 and then 1 line. She does this to keep the rhythm of the poem going as all three stanzas are distinctive and separate. The first stanza of 8 lines about soup is free flowing as Kay uses little grammar to separate the lines, only using a dash, question and a comma during the whole stanza. The lines are also very short, consisting of 10 or less words each. Structure The dialect of the poem is an accent which is shown through Scottish lexis. For instance, the use of 'wee' and the scottish filler of 'och'. This personalises the poem to show the personality of the author's Grandpa so that we feel more connected to him. We then can understand the authors sense of loss even though they try to hide it, and we also feel more involved in the memory. Dialect Jackie Kay What it is about Grandpa’s Soup is about Kay recalling her own childhood memories of spending time with her Grandfather in Scotland. The poem evidently shows the fondness in which these memories are remembered due to the notable fact that there are no negative memories throughout the poem. This form ensures that when the first stanza is read it becomes memorable; as the flow and rhythm of the short lines assist the reader with connecting with Kay’s own memories. The structure of this poem also determines that parts of the poem become stuck in the reader’s mind, such as “and its dice potatoes the perfect size and its wee soft bits” which flows nicely when reading and furthers Kay’s aim of conveying her own memories to the reader, making it significant to them. The poem is based around the metaphor of the soup representing the Grandpas life. The soup triggers the memory of the Grandpa, for example 'every soup will become sad and wrong when he is gone' to show how Kay links these two things together. Once the Grandpa is dead, Kay no longer wants soup even though she clearly still likes it. So the soup in this poem is more than just a memory but a representation of the authors feelings for their Grandpa as they can't express them properly. repetition metaphor subject purpose audience genre No one makes soup like my Grandpa’s,
with its diced carrots the perfect size
and its diced potatoes the perfect size
and its wee soft bits –
what are their names?
and its big bit of hough,
which rhymes with loch, floating
like a rich island in the middle of the soup sea.

I say, Grandpa, Grandpa your soup is the best soup in the whole world.
And Grandpa says, Och,
which rhymes with hough and loch,
Och, Don’t be daft,
because he’s shy about his soup, my Grandpa.
He knows I will grow up and pine for it.
I will fall ill and desperately need it.
I will long for it my whole life after he is gone.
Every soup will become sad and wrong after he is gone.
He knows when I’m older I will avoid soup altogether.
Oh Grandpa, Grandpa, why is your soup so glorious?I say tucking into my fourth bowl in a day.

Barley! That’s the name of the wee soft bits. Barley. The text is a poem on author Jackie Kay's memories of her Grandpas life. She is writing to recall and remember her Grandpa through the memory of his soup. The poem is informal as the author is almost having a conversation with them self, or reliving the memories. For instance, at the end of the poem the writer answers the rhetorical question from the 1st stanza, showing how casual and formless the poem is. The purpose of poem is for the author to recall and remember their Grandpa's life and to share it with others. This may be for the intention of wanting to influence people to appreciate people and the things they do more while they're there. The poem is aimed at everyone so that they can see the author's experience and then learn from it. They will realise the harsh reality that no one lasts forever but the memories do. This is shown by the soup being a metaphor of the Grandpa's life as the Grandpa has gone but his memory and soup is with her still. Non-fiction poetry on the authors memories, so it is a reflective poem around the occasion of having soup. The author tries to explain the words by saying 'which rhymes with hough and loch' which shows they presume that the audience do not know these words already. This suggests the dialect is personal to the Grandpa and the author so symbolises their friendship. However, by explaining these words she is indicating that she wants people to be aware of the accent and therefore know what her Grandpa is like. This suggests Jackie is not only explaining what her Grandpa was like to the audience but wants them to feel connected with him. Furthermore in the second stanza focusing on age, Kay opts to use a different structure. This stanza uses a lot more grammar and punctuation than the first and is larger with thirteen lines. She repeats parts of the first stanza with similar lines such as on Line 11 and 12 "Och, which rhymes with hough and loch" replicating Line 6 and 7 from the first stanza which is "hough, which rhymes with loch", these are significant as they make parts of the poem become stuck in the reader's mind. Also, Kay uses repetitive sentences such as 'diced carrots the perfect size' and 'diced potatoes the perfect size' to show exact the soup has to be made, suggesting that no one else can make the soup quite right. This compliments how good the soup was but also, as the soup is a metaphor for the Grandpas life, the author is indirectly saying no one can replace the Grandpa to her. The writer also uses a metaphor for the bits of hough. 'Floating like a rich island in the middle of the soup sea' is bringing the soup alive. It represents just how magical and special the author thinks of the soup.
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