You, Shiva and My Mum

(Note that analyses can vary widely, hence these annotations must only be used in conjunction with your own analyses).

Annotations of You, Shiva and My Mum by Ruth Padel.

Summary of the poem:

Title: Shiva (one of the 3 major Hindu deities) may be standing between the narrator’s brother and his mother. Mother have to overcome this cultural gap.

Tone: Conversational — addresses an audience (the poet’s brother), but narrative, telling the story of the mother from a 3rd person POV. Debatable; is the narrator embarrassed or excited? Humour elements too.

Summary: An eighty-year old mother goes to India to learn about the culture after his son is engaged to an Indian girl. Her journey is told in a narrative-like manner.

Structure: Lines are in 3s — reflects the title, shows their bond. 12 stanzas may represent 12 Jyotirlings: represent image of Shiva. Indentation may show the divide between cultures or the gap in understanding.

Themes: Cultures, family, adventure (?), breaking stereotypes/expectations.

Devices used: repetition (how, shows incremental understanding), rhetorical question (shows incredulity), references to Indian culture, alliteration, dynamic verbs.

Links to other poems: Lammas Hireling (element of surprise?), All the family poems.


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