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THE LIVING

PHOTOGRAPH
By Jackie Kay
Sources:
Tan, C. (2016). Understanding new lit: Selected poems, short stories and drama form
4. Johor: Penerbitan Pelangi Sdn. Bhd.
Appuduray, S. & Kok, A. (2015). Lets score in literature: Selected poems, short
stories and drama form 4. Selangor: Penerbitan Ilmu Bakti Sdn. Bhd.
Illustrations & PPT Slides Prepared by : Mdm. Adlina (teacheradlina@gmail.com)

LITERAL MEANING
STANZA 1
The persona describes her grandmother as tall and
well-dressed with a kind smile. Her smile comes
from her eyes. On her deathbed, she held the
personas small black hand in her big white hand.
She was not afraid to die.

LITERAL MEANING
STANZA 2
Grandmother, who was tall, became small, hunched
and forgetful. The persona accepts that her
grandmother has passed to the other world, as all
grandmothers do.

LITERAL MEANING
STANZA 3
The persona took a photograph with her grandmother
when she was three years old, When she looks at the
photograph, she feels grandmothers presence. To the
persona, the grandmother is still alive, smiling at her.

FIGURATIVE MEANING
STANZA 1
In the beginning, we are young and we stand tall and
confident. We make sure everything is done properly. We
approach every situation with a smile even as we offer
encouragement to others and receive support in return.
When faced with a difficult situation, we face it bravely.

FIGURATIVE MEANING
STANZA 2

We can feel the challenges when we look around


and see the changes. We begin to lose our grip as
things get too difficult. We may even forget things
but finally, when the situation is out of our hands
and we have to let go.

FIGURATIVE MEANING
STANZA 3

Sometimes, we can look back at our past


experiences and remember the good things that
have shaped our lives. We may have mementos like
photos and certificates to keep our memories alive.

Love and
appreciation

Close family ties

THEMES
Death is a
part of life

Tema

Letting go

Value of
photographs
Memories are
to be
treasured

We should value our


relationship with our
loved ones.
We should
treasure our
loved ones when
they are still alive.

MORAL
VALUES
Nilai & Pengajaran
We must learn to accept
that death is a part of
life and learn to let go.

Keeping a
memento like
photographs helps
keep memories
alive.

Stanza 1:
Nostalgic

Overall:

Sense of
strong
family ties

TONE &
MOOD
Stanza 3: Positive

Stanza 2:

Melancholic

POETIC DEVICES
vSOUND DEVICES
- Alliteration

: tall there / hand holds

- Assonance

: soup forgot to boil / still living

vLITERARY DEVICES
- Symbol

: The photograph is the symbol of close family ties

- Contrast

: straight-back vs hunched / white vs black

- Imagery

: Stanza 1, lines 2-3: image of a prim and proper lady


Stanza 2, line 4: being forgetful

POETIC DEVICES
vLITERARY DEVICES (CONTD)
- Diction

: back round and hunched / crinkled smile / still


living, breathing

vFIGURATIVE LANGUAGE
- Metaphor

: her sharp blue eyes look her own death in the eye

- Personafication

: her soup forgot to boil << soup personified as someone


who forgot to do something
the crinkled smile is still living, breathing << the smile
means a friendly person

POETIC DEVICES
vFIGURATIVE LANGUAGE (CONTD)
- Irony

: The title itself is an irony. The use of the term


living to refer to a person who has passed away

- Foreshadowing : Her sharp blue eyes look her own death in the eye
foreshadows the grandmothers death in the next
stanza

SETTING
vTime

: When the persona has grown


up

vPlace

: At the family home, looking at


old photographs

PRACTICE 1
The following words are found in the poem. Give the opposite of
each word.
1. Kind

5. Awful

2. Hunched

6. True

3. Death

7. Sharp

4. Forgot

8. Smile

PRACTICE 1 - ANSWERS
The following words are found in the poem. Give the opposite of
each word.
1. Kind

cruel

5. Awful

nice

straight

6. True

false

3. Death

life

7. Sharp

dull

4. Forgot

remembered

8. Smile

frown

2. Hunched

PRACTICE 2
Complete the sentences in your own words. Write only ONE word.

1. In the poem, the persona is recalling memories of her __________.


2. The persona was _______ years old when the photograph was
taken.
3. In the photograph, the persona is holding her grandmothers ____.
4. The grandmother has ______ eyes.
5. When the grandmother grows older, she becomes __________.
6. The last two lines in Stanza 2 tells us that the grandmother is _____.

PRACTICE 2 - ANSWERS
Complete the sentences in your own words. Write only ONE word.

1. In the poem, the persona is recalling memories of her grandmother.


2. The persona was three years old when the photograph was taken.
3. In the photograph, the persona is holding her grandmothers hand.
4. The grandmother has blue eyes.
5. When the grandmother grows older, she becomes forgetful.
6. The last two lines in Stanza 2 tells us that the grandmother is dead.

PRACTICE 3
Match the nouns to the correct adjectives.
place

smile

shoes

shirt

eyes

smile

photograph

skirt

back

bun

ADJECTIVES
1. Broderie anglaise
2. Kind, old
3. Round and hunched
4. Unknown, unthinkable
5. Living, breathing

NOUN

EXERCISE 3 (CONTD)
Match the nouns to the correct adjectives.
place

smile

shoes

shirt

eyes

smile

photograph

skirt

back

bun

ADJECTIVES
6. sharp, blue
7. pleated
8. grey
9. flat
10. living

NOUN

PRACTICE 3 - ANSWERS
ADJECTIVES

NOUNS

ADJECTIVES

NOUNS

1. Broderie
anglaise

shirt

6. sharp, blue

eyes

2. Kind, old

smile

7. pleated

skirt

3. Round and
hunched

back

8. grey

bun

4. Unknown,
unthinkable

place

9. flat

shoes

5. Living,
breathing

smile

10. living

photograph

PRACTICE 4

Answer the questions based on your understanding of the poem.

1. How are the people in the photograph related?


2. What kind of person was the grandmother?
3. What happened to the grandmothers physical appearance as she
aged?
4. What does the phrase the awful place refer to?
5. How old was the persona when the photograph was taken?

PRACTICE 4

SUGGESTED ANSWERS

1. How are the people in the photograph related?


They are family / They are grandmother and grandchild.
2. What kind of person was the grandmother?
She was prim and proper / She was well-dressed.
3. What happened to the grandmothers physical appearance as she
aged?
She became smaller and hunched.

PRACTICE 4

SUGGESTED ANSWERS

4. What does the phrase the awful place refer to?


The afterlife / The life after death / The grave.
5. How old was the persona when the photograph was taken?
3 / Three

The End

Thank you for your kind attention!