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Gram resembles her oldest granddaughter, Dicey, quite closely. She is independent, practical, scornful of social conventions, and completely self- sufficient. Like Dicey, Gram, throughout the course of the novel, learns to let go of her past and to reach out to those around her. Gram lives with the dark consciousness of the harshness and bitterness of her past. She married a rigid and unloving man and stood by him stubbornly as his coldness alienated and drove away each of their children. When the Tillerman children arrive on her doorstep, Gram's deepest reluctance to take them in stems from inability to face the choices she made in the past, to share them with the children, and to risk making them again. However, she courageously decides to take the children as her own, and the determination and conviction with which she makes the decision drives her through the entirety of the novel. Gram is not emotionally effusive and affectionate with her grandchildren, but her actions and the meaning behind her gruff demeanor clearly demonstrate her devotion to them. She reaches out to each of the children, striving to help them to solve their own problems, but especially to Dicey, upon whom she relies for help and who she herself counsels about the importance of being emotionally involved in her family's life. Gram herself is not immediately and completely open with her grandchildren. She closely guards the attic, which contains photo albums and other reminders of the past, and she does not share the details of the letters from the mental hospital in Boston with them. By the end of the novel, however, Gram has begun to open up the past to her grandchildren and share not only the wisdom she has gained through her mistakes, but the stories of the past which the children long to hear.
Ace your assignments with our guide to Dicey's Song!