A visit to Grandpas Dylan Thomas Research Paper
Updated: Dec 16th, 2019
A “visit to Grandpa’s” is a story by Dylan Thomas, featured in the “Harrap book of modern short stories,” published in 1956. It portrays the artist as a child, and the close relation he develops with the country side of Wales, at an English village, characteristic with the twentieth century literature.
The book also presents the way the artist felt about the experiences he associated to the place. The story is greatly connected to the artist’s life, and the experiences he would develop after growing up. With reference to the artist’s life, a comparison is built, relating their experiences with those of the memory of the reader, about their childhood experiences.
The story offers immense attention on the characters and the atmosphere, towards developing the narration, which are linked to the appearing situations and atmosphere.1 The artist also uses the experiences of dreams, which are used towards the development of the meaning of the story.
The story, generally, centers on explicating how an adult reader still comprehends the problems and the feelings presented through child memories, as presented through the child story. This paper is an explicative account of the concept expressed through the story, including comparisons, references to the English village, and what the feelings of the Grandpa and how the end of the story are developed.2
The concept of the author lies behind the blending of atmosphere, characterization and narration, towards the development of a captivating life story. These three areas of reality and abstraction are blended together, to present the memories of the artist as a child, depicting their childhood memories and the experiences of their early years. The concept of Dylan, further, lies in creatively presenting his home place, Wales, in a way that will make the reader see and feel the truth that the author experienced.
The artist’s creativity is not only represented in the way he portrays his home place, but also the way that he presents the characters of his masterpiece. The artist’s creative secret of the characters of the story lies in his ability to use them without introducing them, like the norm is for many stories. The author, simply, goes ahead to introduce them, without considerably, taking the pain to develop them, which is not expected from any story, but a style that works so well for his work.
Throughout his creative story, the only character which is considerably developed, which can be comprehended in a clear manner, is that of Dylan himself.3 Further, the character Dylan is the narrator, which shows that the writing style used is quite liberal. It can also be argued that the work revolves around liberal creativity, where the character Dylan, who is narrating the story, presents what they are able to remember and what they observed.4
Under characterization, the artist partially introduces the character of Dylan, through a statement put as, “I woke up from a dream full of whips and lariats as long as serpents.” That is the point in the story, where the artist develops the character of the narrator, who is among the characters of the story, and more than that of the artist writing the story, thus depicted in the usage of the first person voice, I.
The other character that is incorporated into the work without any attempts of developing the character, is that of the grandpa, through the line, “the old man in the next room crying, Gee-up! And Whoa! and trotting his tongue on the roof of his mouth.” From that point on, the character of the grandfather is introduced into the story, although he refers to him as the old man.
Another character incorporated into the artwork is that of the narrator’s mother, as expressed through the line, “for my mother had said that he lit his pipe under the blankets.” Another character incorporated into the story is the man that they came across, while taking a walk around Johnstown village, who is introduced as, “a man with a whippet said,” “there is a nice morning, Mr. Thomas.” This character is apparently compared to the experiences of the author at night, where he had dreamt seeing some men riding on horses, using cloth whips to direct them. Other characters, though passively incorporated, are those introduced as, “all the men who leant on the gates congratulated grandpa on the fine morning.”5
The artist relies on comparisons to develop his story, where he talks of whips as long as serpents, where he intends to create a mental picture of the length of the symbolic whips, as a reader would imagine a serpent to be lengthy. The second case of comparison is that of the floor boards squeaking like mice, as the writer climbs onto the bed, through which he tries to create the mental picture of the squeaking sounds of mice, which he argues as coming from the floor boards of the grandfather’s house.
This is also, clearly a case of symbolism, as it may mean to present how old the house was. The author uses this comparison, to create a picture of how noisy the mice and the wooden floor were, which, according to him, produced comparable noise. The author talks of roaring and riding in a book, after he talks of pulling the sheets over his head, which shows that he is comparing the sleeping position with the shape of a book, which he uses towards the development of the story.
Another comparison is that introduced as, “the overfilled bow of his pipe smoldered along his whiskers like a little burning hayrick on a stick.” Here, the author is trying to create a mental picture of the look of his pipe placed in his mouth, which seemed like a burning hayrick placed on a stick.6
The artist relies on similes, as they may be viewed as a major model through which he develops his characters, atmosphere, surrounding, comparisons and meanings, towards presenting a clearer image of what they are talking about to the reader.
Examples of the similes incorporated into the work include, the floors squeaked like mice, which he uses to create an abstract image of the kind and the intensity of the noise produced by the wooden floor. “The mice between the walls creaked like wood,” is another simile incorporated into the work, where the author is evidently creating a mental picture of the kind of noise produced by the mice, which he almost mistook as that of the floor, when a person was walking over it.7
The artist also uses reference to Wales, towards developing his story, which he presents as one that is representative of the then time, the twentieth century possibly, as a way of trying to show how the atmosphere looked like and what it meant or how it affected the shaping of his childhood experiences.
At the start of the story, the author talks of a dream full of whips, which he continues to present throughout the story, where he presents characters like “a man with a whippet,” which indirectly implies that the Wales region was characteristic with the usage of whips and the riding of horses, which use the whips he talks about throughout the story. The author also talks of mountains, windy gallops across cactus fields, which he presents through the story.
This environment, clearly, presents the look of the Wales environment of that time, which is characteristic with the vegetation he talks about and refers to.8 The author talks of a mild summer night, where he presents the feelings that one would experience during a time of summer at the Wales region.9
The author relies on the figure of sounds, towards creating a clear image of what his child hood experiences were like. These sounds are used as models of creating the shape and the look of the surrounding, the atmosphere of the region and the different characters used. Examples from the story include windy gallop sounds over cactus fields, which give the reader the idea that the story may present surroundings associated to the usage of horses, which produce the gallop sounds.
The sound of the old man, Gee-up and Whoa! Gives the reader, the idea that, the old man may have been smoking, which would have made him produce such sounds, which is proved right through the story. The author talks of the squeaking sounds of mice, towards the creation of a comparison between that sound to that of the wooden floor. The author, here, is trying to offer insights on the type of noise, the intensity of the noise and the nature of the wood floor.
The same case applies with the sounds produced by the mice, which the author compares to those produced by wood, which offers an idea into how sleeping in such a noisy place was like for the artist, during his childhood.
The author talks of the flapping of the curtains and the beating sounds produced by the branches of trees hitting against the window, which he uses to portray a climate and atmosphere, which was characteristically windy and noisy. The author talks of a wet dog-whistle, which offers a clear picture of the sounds produced by the grandfather as he smoked.10
The narrator of the story is one of the characters presented through the story, and one who is a first-hand witness or bearer to the events and the experiences presented through the story. The narrator of the story is also the major character throughout the story, as well as the author of the artwork.
This is clear from the voice used right from the beginning of the work, where he says, “I woke from a dream full of whips.” This voice shows that the main character is the major character of the story, which is further supported by the knowledge that the author/ narrator is presenting his own childhood experiences. Based on these insights, the narrator of the story is Dylan Thomas, who is the renowned author of the story.11
The grandpa feels that the author is showing behaviors of hallucination and being affected by his dreams and nightmares, as he talks of a case where the grandfather commands the author not to ask any more questions. This is evident from the quote, “ask no more questions,” after which he asks him whether they experience nightmares. After that night, the grandfather talks of the extreme windy conditions that he had experienced the previous night, which justifies and offers information on what the source of the noises, might have been.12
The grandfather also feels knowledgeable, as he takes the grandson around, offering him information on different issues, including the comparable nature of birds flying through trees to that of horse ridding, as he felt in the night. Towards the end of the story, the grandfather is presented as one who feels hopeless, and maybe delusional. This is the case, as he is presented as one who believes himself as dead, which may show him as one who is mentally challenged in a way, if not confused.13
The end of the story may be associated to the confusion that develops in the mind of the author, who was then still a child, as he offers an account of having looked for him for some time, consulting the grandfather’s neighbors, including the carpenter, Dan Thomas, Mr. Griff and the butcher among others.
The confusion of the author escalates further, after they found the grandpa around a bridge. The escalation of the author’s confusion, may have led to the end of the story, as the experience of dealing with the grandfather who argued and believed that they were dead. The efforts to convince the grandfather that he was not dead are also not successful, which may have led to the authors failure to continue tracking the story and enjoying the childhood experiences, which he recollects through the story.14
Benson, S, “Books LIVE,” SA Partridge, vol. 4, no. 1, 2008, pp. 1-22.
Bullocke, J, The Harrap Book of Modern Short Stories, Nelson Publishers, Tennessee, 1985, pp. 23-25.
Ketu, K, “The Aesthetics of Dislocation,” The Women’s Review of Books, vol. 5, 2002, 5-6.
Lahiri, J, Interpreter of maladies: stories, Houghton Mifflin, Boston, 1999, p. 20.
Moeller, A, Dylan Thomas, A Visit to Grandpa’s – an Analysis, GRIN Verlag, New York, 2009, p. 23.
Noelle, B, “Reading Jhumpa Lahiri’s Interpreter of Maladies as a Short Story Cycle,” MELUS, Vol. 29, 2004, p. 123.
1 J Bullocke, The Harrap Book of Modern Short Stories, Nelson Publishers, Tennessee, 1985, p. 76.
2 A Moeller, Dylan Thomas, A Visit to Grandpa’s – an Analysis, GRIN Verlag, New York, 2009, p. 12.
3 B Noelle, “Reading Jhumpa Lahiri’s Interpreter of Maladies as a Short Story Cycle,” MELUS, Vol. 29, 2004, p. 123.
4 S Benson, “Books LIVE,” SA Partridge, vol. 4, no. 1, 2008, p. 1.
5 S Benson, “Books LIVE,” SA Partridge, vol. 4, no. 1, 2008, p. 1.
6 S Benson, “Books LIVE,” SA Partridge, vol. 4, no. 1, 2008, p. 14
7 S Benson, “Books LIVE,” SA Partridge, vol. 4, no. 1, 2008, p. 15.
8 J Lahiri, Interpreter of maladies: stories, Houghton Mifflin, Boston, 1999, p. 37.
9 S Benson, “Books LIVE,” SA Partridge, vol. 4, no. 1, 2008, p. 17.
10 S Benson, “Books LIVE,” SA Partridge, vol. 4, no. 1, 2008, p. 18.
11 S Benson, “Books LIVE,” SA Partridge, vol. 4, no. 1, 2008, p. 19.
12 K Ketu, “The Aesthetics of Dislocation,” The Women’s Review of Books, vol. 5, 2002, pp. 5-6.
13 S Benson, “Books LIVE,” SA Partridge, vol. 4, no. 1, 2008, p. 20.
14 S Benson, “Books LIVE,” SA Partridge, vol. 4, no. 1, 2008, p. 21.
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