• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Comparison of the three poems and how they present the theme of human value

Extracts from this document...


Moniza Alvi's poem 'An Unknown Girl' in the EDEXCEL literature anthology carries a powerful theme namely, nurturing one's cultural identity. The poet drives home this message by portraying the unknown girl the ambassador of Indian culture. Likewise, Phylllis McCormack's "Crabbit old woman" is a very inspirational poem as the poet pleads the reader not to treat the elderly as inanimate cogs in a machine but as civilized human beings. Similarly, Zulfiker Ghose's "Geography Lesson" calls upon mankind to shed their ignorance and hatred and learn to live in peace and harmony. The structure and form in "An Unknown Girl" is sustained through the literary technique; 'refrain' e.g. "an unknown girl is hennaing my hand". Using a pattern of three, the poet maintains the poem's unity, as the first four lines are repeated thrice with slight variations achieving a link between the poet and the bazaar with all its cultural associations. The poet also employs imagery to make an analogy with the western culture. This is accompanied through the use of selective diction. For instance, the phrase "Colours leave the street" suggests that the artificial contrived appearance that the western culture has cast upon India has had a strong influence and has subsequently led to the waning of the Indian culture. The poet consolidates this profound influence of western culture on India through the phrase "Dummies .....stare with their western perms" and "shadow-stitched......canopy me". ...read more.


The diction becomes more euphoric with words such as "mother..love...heart...happy...remembering...dreaming" all recounting the freedom of youth she once enjoyed and relished in. The last turning point marks another mood change from positive to negative and proceeds in a melancholic manner. This begins with the phrase "Dark days are upon me" as the poet brings us up to date by way of indicating what the old woman's present life is like; namely sad, dejecting and fearful. Besides structure and language, the poet incorporates emotive imagery in order to convey a great deal on the unjustly judgement of the old. As we read through the poem, we take note of how Phyllis pertains to the notion of relating to the recollections of the old woman's life. These recollections take on an almost photographic quality, as they are so precise and follow such a logical progression - "at twenty...at forty". This seemingly logical progression gives us a sense of believing that she is turning the pages of an album and creates a shared memory for the reader to relate towards. Significantly even these past memories are described in the present tense, a technique which assists in keeping them fresh and alive in her mind and more importantly the readers mind. Similarly, decrepit images such as "crumbles...old carcass...battered heart" evoke an assertive imagery of the decaying life that the old woman is exposed to and mirrors the disillusionment that has settled in the woman due to ill-treatment. ...read more.


This is illustrated through the phrase "men on the earth found causes to hate each other, to build walls across cities and to kill" whereby the poet points out the vengeance that has permeated mankind. The poet laments man's ignorance through the phrase "From that height, it was not clear why" and, in conclusion, makes an indirect plea to the mankind not to take a narrow view of the petty issues and to take a broad-minded view of the same so that mankind and nature can co-exist in eternal peace. In conclusion, each of the three poems imparts an aspect of human value; "An Unknown Girl" emphasizes the importance of preserving a nation's culture as a unifying fabric; "Crabbit Old Woman" urges the reader to treat the elderly from within the heart rather than on face value; "Geography Lesson" calls upon mankind to shed hatred and learn to live in peace. However, in my judgement, Crabbit Old Woman stands to be the most distinct and powerful poem as it broaches the most touching aspect of human value, moves the reader and effectively conveys an important moral through apt use of diction, imagery and direct form of address. Comparison of the three poems and how they present the theme of human value Comparison of the three poems and how they present the theme of human value Akhil Venkataraghavan Akhil Venkataraghavan ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Composition section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Composition essays

  1. the conegatherers ( note form )

    lady r.c and duror go into lendrick ( closest town ) in car- had chance to offer brothers lift, didn't, duror persuades her not to- they drive past them, Neil points out not getting a lift, they think it would be unspeakable to offer them a lift in the same car.

  2. An Inspector Calls

    Mr Birling is described at the start as a "heavy-looking, rather portentous man in his middle fifties but rather provincial in his speech." This shows he has worked his way up and is proud of his achievements. Mrs Birling is described as "about fifty, a rather cold woman and her husband's social superior."

  1. The Scarlet Letter Passage Analysis

    'Come along, Pearl,' said she, drawing her away. 'Come and look into this fair garden. It may be we shall see flower there; more beautiful ones than we find in the woods.' Pearl, accordingly, ran to the bow window at the further end of the hall and looked along the vista of a garden walk, carpeted with closely

  2. Nature vs Nurture

    In addition studies have shown that Black children that were adopted by Whites during birth have a higher IQ score than regular blacks, however the "African American adopted children still scored 6 points below the White children in the same family".

  1. Courtship Of Mr Lyon and Wolf Alice Comparison Essay

    Throughout The Courtship of Mr Lyon, the idea of eyes is repeated frequently. A symbol of understanding and potential, 'as if her eyes' the Beast is able to see the possibilities Beauty contains and wishes her to encourage her character to blossom.

  2. How does Bronte present Hopes and Fears in Chapters 1-9 of Jane Eyre? ...

    Dark objects make the room very gloomy and fearful. This shows that the 'red room' has a very powerful effect on Jane. The dark colours come alive and scare her through her imagination. The difference in size of the objects in the 'red room' also make Jane fearful, 'massive pillars', 'largest chamber' and 'two large windows'.

  1. An inspector calls

    Moreover this use of lighting hints at the foreshadowing of the 'trouble' that the Birlings will come to turns with. Priestley presents Mr Birling in a very arrogant and negative light to the viewers. An example of this is Mr Birling's toast on page 4, when he talks about his view regarding the engagement of his daughter.

  2. Opinion article. The Size Zero craze refuses to surrender. The media refuses to ...

    In fact, I don't get an invite full stop. But I still enjoy flicking through the pages of the top fashion magazines and style blogs to find out the backstage gossip and see who has been wearing what. When each Fashion Week comes around, there's always a bit of controversy to kick it all off - usually surrounding the

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work