Essay about Legacies and Heritage

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Legacies and Heritage

Nikki Giovanni and Linda Hogan both wrote poems in the 1970s about their grandmothers that seem totally different to the unaware reader. In actuality, they are very similar. These two poems, Legacies and Heritage, express the poet’s value of knowledge passed down from grandmother to granddaughter, from generation to generation. Even though the poems are composed and read very differently, the underlying message conveyed is the same, and each are valid first-hand accounts of legacies and heritages. While Giovanni's Legacies is only about the grandmother, Hogan's Heritage describes, in addition to the grandmother's and her advice, the advice and appearances of other family members. Despite this, the
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In Legacies, we are shown what the granddaughter is thinking behind the words of the refusal:" . . . even if she couldn't say it that/ that would mean when the old one died she would be/ less dependant on her spirit so..."(Giovanni 468). This means that the girl wants to be dependant on her grandmother even after she dies. Many younger children have a fear of being alone and having no one to take care of them. Therefore, her conflict lays in her words and thoughts. Some part of her may want to learn how to make rolls, but the thought of no longer needing her grandmother outweighs her desire for knowledge. So even after the grandmother passes away, Giovanni will always rely on her to make the best rolls. Linda Hogan has no such doubts or reservations like that. She is just taking in all the information her grandmother and family members give her. She pictures her grandmother as loaded with information, from how tobacco is used as medicine, to how consuming the meat of deer will help you travel many miles swiftly. In the last stanza, there are many mentions of travel. It seems that Hogan's tribe is nomadic by nature, as many southwestern Indian tribes are. This could be the meaning behind the last line " From my family I have learned the secrets/ of never having a home." (Hogan 473). In essence, a nomadic people would never have a home, only a strong sense of family. This entire poem stresses

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