English Literature





What does the simile of ice in ‘Climbing My Grandfather’ emphasise?

2 years ago


3 Replies




Breanne Veum

3 Answers

James Hadland

‘Like warm ice’ is a paradoxical simile within the poem, used in reference to the skin of his grandfather. Through the oxymoron of ‘warm ice’, where heat is associated to cold, when used in comparison to his grandfather, the poet may be trying to illustrate how his grandfather’s surface is cold, like ice, yet inside, from the grandson’s perspective, he is ‘warm’. This idea is particularly emphasised through the metonymy of skin used to represent his grandfather as a whole.

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like warm ice” oxymoron creates a child-like simple simile showing his father isn't cold like ice is. “smiling mouth”- shows that he enjoys the time they spent together. “drink among teeth… refreshed” showing him taking on his grandfathers' wisdom.

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The mention of ice which is described as “warm ice “suggests that as this is an oxymoron there is a conflict of emotion. This may suggest that the speaker is fine to portray different types of emotions. One possibility is that this may represent the warmth of the relationship between the grandfather and the speaker. Perhaps it is the possibility of the speaker wanting to “melt the heart “of his grandfather. Ice, being cold, could represent a sense of emotional distance at the speaker feels between he and his grandfather. This of course does lead on to the “glassy ridge of a scar “which would link the running metaphor of climbing a mountain, that is to say the cold of the ice to that cold that is experienced when climbing a mountain and reaching the “cold” ridge which represents a distant negative experience that caused the injury.


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