Study Guide

The Last Words of My English Grandmother Death

By William Carlos Williams

Death

You gotta hand it to this poem. "The Last Words of My English Grandmother" delivers on what the title promises. It shows the final few hours and the last moments of the speaker's grandmother—oh, and her last words, of course. In the poem, we see all the stages that a lot of people feel when death approaches, from total denial to ultimate acceptance. The speaker describes his grandmother's final moments with an unsentimental clarity, which gives readers the room to make their own decisions about his take on mortality.

Questions About Death

  1. How does the grandmother's relationship with death change over the course of the poem?
  2. What do you think the speaker's attitude is towards death? How can you tell?
  3. In what ways does the poem allude to the death of the grandmother?

Chew on This

Eh—in general, the poem doesn't seem to have an opinion on death; it just presents a clear picture of the realities that sometimes lead up to it.

The last words of the grandmother show that death can be a peaceful release from the world. ("So long, suckers," we can imagine Granny saying.)

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