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Comparing Poems 'Nothings changed' and 'what were they like?'

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21st May 2007 Amy Hedderman Comparing Poems Nothings changed and what were they like? The Poem 'nothings changed' is based on Tatamkhulu Afrika himself who spent many years in South Africa and his autobiographical poem which describes most of what him and others had experienced and his own feelings expressed during the policy of Apartheid, introduced by the government in his country. This forced many popular attractions such as beaches, buses and even towns to be changed to 'white areas' only. For some this meant leaving the country forever all just because of the colour of there skin. The poem itself is set out in six stanzas, each including eight fairly short but important lines. This kind of layout and structure in the poem creates a sense of control, showing how the poet is extremely clear about what he is saying and feeling in his head with no sudden actions leading to rage. Within the pattern of the poem the line lengths do also vary from a whole entire stanza to just two little words. For example: 'District Six. ...read more.


This makes him reflect that despite the changing political situation, there are still huge inequalities between blacks and whites. Even though South Africa is supposed to have changed, he knows the new restaurant is really 'whites only'. He feels that nothing has really changed overall. The deep anger he feels makes him want to destroy the restaurant completely - 'to smash the glass with a stone, or a bomb'. Secondly the poem 'what were they like' written by Denise Levertov who wrote poems that opposed American fighting in Vietnam in the 1960's.This particular poem is against the typical American ignorance of the Vietnam war. She published the poem to show her true feelings about what the American army themselves had done to the people and the way of life of Vietnam. The structure of the poem is like an interview, having the interviewer or questioner ask all the questions together and then the speaker answer each question after one another. Altogether there are six questions followed by six very surprising answers. Also at the end of the poem the answers are followed by a rhetorical question 'who can say?' ...read more.


Overall both poems include some similar qualities, both being completely true and poets experiencing the lives lived out there. Yet 'nothings changed' is describing the life long change of the country since introducing the law of Apartheid in the 1960's and how the country is still living with it, and overcoming the stress and changes the country had to make to change the lives of black and white people which is something of anger and hatred. This is shown by a personal experience form living in the country and visiting local areas and recording the atmosphere of the place. This anger can also be shown in 'what were they like' although this particular poet may have had experience from Vietnam she was not there to see it and includes in her poem questions referring to the fact she wants answers to what has happened in the past war against America. This shows the poems are different one including life experience on unfair laws made and the other just wanted answers on what she believes what happened in the Vietnam war is completely wrong. ...read more.

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