What is the effect on the reader of the description of the grandmother's death following the appearance of planes? How does the use of physical description contribute to the unfolding of the story?

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The narrator remembers her childhood meeting with Da-duh, her grandmother, in Barbados, the Caribbean island where her parents grew up. The physical setting is so alien to the child that she feels intensely uncomfortable. She has never before seen sugar cane or so many kinds of fruit trees. She finds it very challenging to absorb the vast differences between the lush, tropical foliage and the bricks and concrete of her environment where she lives in New York City. Her reaction is to brag to her grandmother about the many wonders of New York. Her own anxieties render her insensitive to how rudely she is treating her grandmother.

The narrator, from her adult vantage point, continuously emphasizes the contrast of age and generation between the child and the elderly woman and between the natural environment of the Caribbean island and the artificially constructed environment of the North American island, Manhattan. The older woman is reluctant to admit that wonders such as skyscrapers even exist and certainly resists the child’s implication that they would be superior to the bounties of nature. The sharp distinction between these ways of life foreshadows her fear when the airplanes buzz her home, which the narrator presumes was the cause of her death.

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