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Language constructs meaning. Analyse how true this is of Duffy's poems "Foreign" and "Nostalgia".

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Introduction

Q: Language constructs meaning. Analyse how true this is of Duffy?s poems ?Foreign? and ?Nostalgia?. In both the poems ?Foreign? and ?Nostalgia? by Carol Ann Duffy, meaning was constructed effectively through the poet?s exquisite language used. In ?Foreign?, Duffy portrays the psychological barriers associated with living in a different place, as well as the possible racial discrimination when foreigners attempt to become a part of a different society; likewise, in ?Nostalgia?, Duffy presents the psychological suffering of the ?early mercenaries? caused by their desperate desire to return to their homeland. The idea of alienation and separation occurring is also displayed through Duffy?s subtle use of diction and structure in both poems. Primarily, the depression and emotional sadness suffered by people is evident in both poems, as Duffy attempts to use language to emphasise its meaning. In ?Foreign?, the phrase ?writing home? evokes a sense of nostalgia and depression; for the people who have arrived in a new society, Duffy shows their reminiscence of their past world and families, as they have been separated from their original society. The ?local dialect? in the immigrants? ?head? is coupled with the memory of their ?mother singing to [them]?. Here, Duffy again exemplifies the idea of how much they miss their homeland as they face adversities and their struggle to evade the difficulties for living in a foreign place. ...read more.

Middle

This suffering is emphasised by the personification ?sad pipes which reminds them of their home. Furthermore, Duffy uses caesura to accentuate the idea of separation of individuals from their past, as the nostalgia there has been replicated. The notion of uncertainty inside the minds of people after going through psychological or emotional experiences is explicitly expressed by Duffy through the exquisite language used by her. In ?Foreign?, the phrase ?and now you do not know why your eyes are watering and what?s the word for this? clearly displays the ambiguity that the people feel when living in a foreign place. Duffy also presents the idea of possible racial discrimination faced by these people through the phrase ?saw a name for yourself sprayed in red against a brick wall? and the simile ?A hated name. Red like blood?, once again exemplifying their uncertainty on their unfamiliar society. This unfamiliarity is emphasised in the unfinished verbs written in italics: ?Me not know? and ?It like they only? in order to remind us of the opening of the poem on the ?strange[ness]? of this foreign place. In contrast, Duffy also displays the uncertainty of people, but when they are suffering nostalgia in ?Nostalgia?. She uses the oxymoron ?sweet pain? to show their painful loss for moving away from a valued home, but also the sweetness in pursuing what they desire, and are reconciled through the ambivalence of this phrase. ...read more.

Conclusion

It was Spring when one returned, with his life in a sack on his back, to find the same street with the same sign over the inn, the same bell chiming the hour on the clock, and everything changed. Foreign Imagine living in a strange, dark city for twenty years. There are some dismal dwellings on the east side and one of them is yours. On the landing, you hear your foreign accent echo down the stairs. You think in a language of your own and talk in theirs. Then you are writing home. The voice in your head recites the letter in a local dialect; behind that is the sound of your mother singing to you, all that time ago, and now you do not know why your eyes are watering and what?s the word for this. You use the public transport. Work. Sleep. Imagine one night you saw a name for yourself sprayed in red against a brick wall. A hate name. Red like blood. It is snowing on the streets, under the neon lights, as if this place were coming to bits before your eyes. And in the delicatessen, from time to time, the coins in your palm will not translate. Inarticulate, because this is not home, you point at fruit. Imagine that one of you says Me not know what these people mean. It like they only go to bed and dream. Imagine that. ...read more.

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