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Heir Conditioning by M. SHANmughalingam
The poem is a dialogue through which the grandson
and his grandparents talk about the differences in
their generations and ways of life. The poet offers two
different views from two different generations
through the dialogue. The grandson asked about
living without modern inventions like air conditioners
and fax machines. One would have found it difficult to
keep cool with a paper fan or not have longdistance
communication. He feels that life must have been
difficult. The grandfather replies that they
were ignorant of such inventions and life was simpler.
They did not have the modern inventions with the
accompanying problems of physical and emotional
problems and destruction of nature. They were
and loved nature while the present generation is
feared by nature and money is their God. People
living in the grandchilds time are more materialistic
and they have to pay the price for progress.

Elements of the Poem

The poem is written in free verse. It does not have a
fixed rhyme scheme and there are two stanzas.
Style and language
The poem is written in the form of a dialogue between
the grandparents and their grandchild. They talk
the differences in their ways of life in simple language.
It is easy for the reader to understand.
Present day
The personas house
Point of view
The point of view is the first person and there are two
personas the grandfather and the grandchild.

Mood and atmosphere
The personas sound serious as they refer to the
differences in their ways of life. Both personas feel
that their
individual way of life is better than the other. The
grandfather appears to be taken aback by the attitude
the young people towards materialism.

The tone is matter-of-fact as the personas ask directly
and give truthful expressions of the others way of life.
The grandchild is concerned that life must be difficult
without modern inventions. The grandfather is
with the present generation as they have become
more materialistic in life and their values have

Price of progress
Development and quality of life
The younger generation and challenges in life
Needs of the younger generation
Challenges in the present world
Greed and materialistic ways

Moral values
We must be grateful with what we have.
Do not take things for granted but be prepared to
face changes.
Progress brings about advantages and
Present-day values are different from yesteryears
and the young must be prepared to accept the
Greed can lead to destruction.
The younger generation and the older generation
have different values.
We should preserve the environment.
The younger generation should not be too
We must pay a high price for development.

Poetic devices

e.g. Grandma werent you flustered as you fluttered
with paper fans?
Imagery of the senses
e.g. traffic jams, destruction of forest, streams, and
hills, grandmother fluttering her fan
e.g. long distance call
e.g. pollution
e.g. The title Heir Conditioning is a pun on the word
air conditioning.
e.g. ignorance, breathe, communicate
e.g. Use of the word heir the younger generation
are heirs of the older generation but they have not
adopted the latters ways
e.g. Money is your new God