Hart Crane´S My Grandmother’s Love Letters: The Difference Between Generations

1049 words - 5 pages

Imagine stumbling across grandmother’s old love letters, showing that she was once young, or playing the piano with her, or going as far as to explain something she rejects almost immediately. That’s the scenario Hart Crane plays out in his poem “My Grandmother’s Love Letters” at least to some extent. He uses various poetic techniques to show numerous ideas, one of which being that the gap between generations is so large that it’s hard to connect across the ages.

One of the techniques Hart Crane uses is imagery to show how delicate and nerve-wracking the situation with the speaker’s grandmother appears to be. The first example, which is a part of the title, is her love letters. When they are first brought to attention, the speaker describes them as “...brown and soft/And liable to melt as snow” this shows that they have been forgotten and they have aged quite a bit over the years (10-11). The details may be used to represent how fragile the situation may be. The second line that shows rather than telling and helps set the scene of the delicateness of the scenario is about halfway through the poem. The line “It is all hung by an invisible white hair” shows the relationship between the grandmother and grandchild, as it appears to be so thin that it hardly exists (13). As stated earlier, it also shows the delicacy of the situation playing out in the poem, as hair is easy to destroy much like the bond they appear to share. The line that follows suit also uses imagery to help convey the feel of the poem. Crane uses the phrase “It trembles as birch limbs webbing the air” to help picture in one’s mind the uneasy and nervous energy that appears to be tied in to the situation (14). As a reader, there are other interpretations to this line, for example one may picture the grandmother, as she is old, to have trembling hands, which stills shows the idea of nervousness as they are associated with one another. Although the imagery paints bland images in one’s mind, they help those who read the poem multiple times to see the many different meanings of the poem.

Another poetic term that Crane used was symbolism, with a flashback being the basis of the stanza. The fifth stanza portrays the scene of playing a piano, whether it being the speaker and grandmother is unknown. The first line of the stanza “Are your fingers long enough to play” sets the scene at the piano (16). To the reader, the piano may be just a piano, but looking at it deeper, it’s almost as if the piano is referring to happiness, maybe implying that playing piano was a happy part of the childhood of the speaker. The next line continues with the piano scene but instead of the piano being physically there it seems to be fading away, disappearing into a memory almost. The line goes “Old keys that are but echoes” and if the reader thinks of the piano as happiness, this line can become one of the...

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