Would someone appreciate being treated like they are the meanest person on the planet? Or maybe have a person 30 years younger than them treat them disrespectfully? I hope not. In the folktale “The Old Grandfather and His Little Grandson” retold by Leo Tolstoy, the son and his wife treat the grandfather extremely disrespectfully and meanly. In the poem “Abuelito Who” by Sandra Cisneros, the grandfather is sick and the granddaughter feels like the grandfather’s former self is gone. An important theme in both of these pieces is, one should respect those who are old and weak.
In the folktale, the son and his wife treat the grandfather very disrespectfully. They act like he is a little kid or a prisoner in their house. This is proved in line 5, “He had to eat his meals in the corner near the stove,” The son and his wife scold the grandfather when he accidentally broke a bowl. Evidence of this is in line 8, “It fell to the floor and broke,” The grandfather tried to move the bowl closer to him so he could eat properly he was clumsy and the bowl fell and broke, this is not his fault, it is because he is weak and clumsy, so he doesn’t have the strength to move it properly.
People have accidents all the time, even young people do. The parents also did not realize that they will eventually become clumsy and old. So they should treat the grandfather respectfully and kindly. This is revealed in line number 9, “She told him that he spoiled everything in the house,” I think the old man sighed when the son’s wife told him that he would receive his food in a wooden bucket because he knew that the same thing will happen to them when they become old because they are influencing their son and he knows he is powerless to stop it.
In the poem, the granddaughter feels like the former self of her grandfather is gone, this is proven in line 16, “Doesn’t live here anymore,” The granddaughter is talking about how he can’t leave the room and how he always sleeps. The grandfather used to play with his granddaughter and spread his happiness everywhere but now he is sick and his playfulness is fading away. This is shown in line 21 when the granddaughter says, “Is the rain on the roof that falls like coins,” The grandfather is unable to go anywhere or play with his granddaughter because he is unable to leave his bedroom.
There is a metaphor in line 14 that explains this, “Is a doorknob tied to a sour stick,” If a doorknob is tied to something it can not move or open the door. In the context of the piece, the grandfather is the doorknob and the stick is his sickness. His granddaughter would be everything on the other side of the door. Thus, it is revealed that the grandfather and granddaughter have a very close relationship. In the folktale, the grandson makes a wooden bucket for his parents out of love because he saw his parents doing the same for his grandfather.
He assumed that they were giving it as a present to his grandfather, But his parents really did that to his grandfather so he can not break their glass bowls. This is revealed in line 11, “He would get his food in a wooden dish,” and, “When you and momma get old, I’ll feed you out of this dish”(16). Once the parents saw their son treating them the same way, they started crying because of how mean they were to the grandfather.
They realize that they will eventually become old and frail just like the grandfather and that their son will treat them the same way. Evidence of this is in line 19, “They had treated the old grandfather so meanly,” At the end of the story, the son and wife start treating him the way they would want to be treated once they become old. In closing, the folktale “The Old Grandfather and His Little Grandson” retold by Leo Tolstoy and the poem “Abuelito Who” by Sandra Cisneros a person should respect their elders and those who are frail and clumsy.
The 2 pieces are related in many different ways. In “The Old Grandfather and His Little Grandson” the son and wife realize that they will also become old and frail too. In “Abuelito Who” the grandfather used to young and playful, now he is sick and old. The granddaughter grieves for he grandfather’s former self, but she must not grieve for she too might become sick and frail. Thus, one must respect their elders and assist the old and frail.