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Transcript of The Summary
By- Olive Senior
The short story, "The Two Grandmothers" tells the story from the point of view of a young girl who monologues to her mother, describes her family and her transition to adolescence. The narrator begins by explaining her experience of visiting her paternal, Grandma Del to her mother. The description gives details about her Grandma's house and neighbors, paying special attention to her Grandma's curtains, and ability to make her dresses and a hat. Next, the child compares Grandma's Del living style to staying with her other Grandmother, Towser, a lady who is concerned with makeup, men and curses regularly. It is also revealed that Grandma Del is black, and Towser is white, alluding to the fact that the child is mixed. As the story progresses, the narrator shows evidence of 'losing her innocence' as the simpler country childhood playtime at Grandma Del's becomes a chore, and spending girl time with Towser or traveling the world becomes more appealing. She also begins to notice racial differences as she comments on the roughness of her hair and darkness of her skin. Setting - rural and urban society.
Theme And Mood
Visual and Auditory imagery
Visual Imagery- An example of visual imagery is on page 116 par.2 "Mummy, I really like grandma Dels house it's nice and cosy and dark and cool on the inside with these lovely big picture frames ..." This quote shows that her grandma Del doesn't have electricity. It's interesting that she learns to hate this darkness when she grows up because she didn't know that darkness meant that she was poor. It's possible that the author uses the new found hatred for darkness as a symbol for how uncomfortable she feels about her own skin.
Auditory imagery- On page 125 in the last two paragraphs the narrator says mom instead of mummy " Mom, I just cant fit her in and that is it." This is an example of auditory imagery because her saying mom makes you imagine her voice more maturely which is a major example of her change.
The style of the writing is straight forward because the wording and grammar is simple and the author avoids using intricate literary devices. He writes with this style that is comfortable yet entertaining because it allows him to best portray the message of the story.
Narrator- A young girl who explains to her mother the differences between staying with her religious grandma Del compared to staying with her modernized grandma Towser and then as the story progresses it changes her whole point of view on staying with both grandmas.
Grandma del- A religious grandma who is popular within her country, very holy and lives an old fashioned lifestyle, kind of poor due to not having the money to pay for electricity. She also showers her young grand daughter with gifts like dresses and hats, baking cakes ,making guava jelly and always tells her how beautiful she is, for example making it clear to her how long and soft her hair is.
Mom- The narrators mother whom she explains the differences between staying with both grandmothers.
Grandma Elaine "Towser"- This is the narrators grandmother who is into a fancy childish lifestyle like wearing makeup, cursing in front of her young grand daughter, telling the narrator to call her Towser and dating. She also shows criticism towards her young grand daughter by telling her how dark she is and how course her hair is. She doesn't seem to like grandma Del because on page 118 par.3 she states "She has only done one absolutely fantastic thing in her life which is too produce one son your esteemed father... Grandma Del is a bumpkin of the deepest waters and don't quote her godamm sayings to me.''
Pearlie- Is a young girl who lives within grandma del's country and is a mother figure towards her poor family. She has to take care of her young brothers, cook and clean when her mother's at work and sometimes gets beaten if her brothers break things.
Eulalie and Ermandine- Two young high school girls who lived within the neighborhood of grandma Del who were friends with the narrator and had children towards the end of the book, messing up the relationship between them and the narator.
One of the major themes in this story is coming of age. This theme is apparent through the development of descriptions that the narrator tells her mother. For example, her love for grandma Del's simple living, and her lack of concern for lady like activities or behavior that Towser enjoys are the thoughts of a young girl. She doesn't notice or understand the complications of being mixed in her environment. Later on in the story it shows that she has become older and is interested in wearing makeup and heels which makes her not want to visit grandma Del because she knows that she doesn't allow this conduct. Since she's older now she starts to realize the differences she has with the people who she goes to school with and her mothers side of the family, for example, her hair is not as straight and her skin color is very dark.
The Mood of the story is nostalgic and sad because the experiences that she describes conjures happy memories and entertaining stories, yet on the other hand, when you realize the changes she is going through and how her likes and dislikes develop, its sad that she is losing that part of herself and actually choosing to become estranged from her family members. It is also sad and not judgemental, because you know that she is not meaning to be this way, but is becoming a product of her environment.