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

English: Poetry Commentary - 'Haven't I Danced the Big Dance?' By Jack Mapanje

Extracts from this document...


Manon Mollard MP5a 16.04.05 English: Poetry Commentary 'Haven't I Danced the Big Dance? By Jack Mapanje The poem 'Haven't I danced the big dance?' by Jack Mapanje concerns the traditional rain dance of a proud tribesman. The modern representation of his dance that he sees today provokes this nostalgic and emotional response. The speaker, a formal tribal rain dancer, is thinking back to the time when he used to dance this traditional dance, and looking at the new generation, dancing only for show, with sadness. The poem is divided into three stanzas, the two first ones being dedicated to the past, when he was a dancer, and the last one to the present. The first stanza talks about the way he used to dance this traditional rain dance, in a circle around the drums, with amulets, anklets and snakes. The second stanza is insisting on the energy he put into this dance, on how good he was. The third stanza brings us to the present time, now that his daughters are doing the dance, more as an attraction for tourists than as a real tradition, and the speaker is not able to show them the real meaning of the dance. ...read more.


And at the same time, he only uses questions, and repeats the phrase 'Haven't I?' at the end of the stanza, which shows that he is sad this time seems to be so far away and that it is not like that anymore. In the second stanza, the speaker keeps talking about the time he used to be a dancer. In this stanza, the speaker insists on how good he was, and we can feel some pride in his words. 'How my neck peaked Above all dancers How my voice throbbed Like the father-drum' Even if I think this is a way to express his nostalgia, I also think he feels somewhat sad this old good time is over. As he sued to be a good dancer, he is looking for satisfaction. Again, he finishes the stanza by 'Haven't I?'. In the last stanza, he is very sad that the tradition had changed; he is disappointed the rain dance does not have the traditional value it once had. He is embarrassed his daughters now use 'babble-idea-men-masks. ...read more.


The look for comfort is essentially expressed at the end, where we have four questions in four lines, especially with the rhetorical question 'Haven't I?'. Indeed, his questions get shorter and shorter in the end, just as if he expected us to answer 'Yes, you have'. He insists with this idea throughout the whole poem, with the 'Haven't I?' question at the end of each stanza. Another important repetition is the one of the word 'dance', written ten times in total. This simply shows his attachment to that rain dance, how important it is, or at least used to be, in his culture. I think the speaker has clearly shown his regrets of the old times and frustration and disappointment now that he sees the modern representations of it. I also think it is very interesting to use only eight questions to write the poem to try to transcribe the rhythm of the dance into the poem itself. The numerous verbs of action make the poem very active and moving: when he describes the dance, it almost feels like we are there, watching them dancing. ...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 Music 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 Music essays

  1. Performing Arts Written Commentary

    These two links between music and dance created a good effect. When were devising our pieces we find it difficult to come up with an idea without getting on with the improvisation. When improvising our piece had little structure and it lacked the consistency of a good piece.

  2. Save the Last Dance: A Critical Turning Point in the lives of Sara, Malakai ...

    The lyrics say, Live your dreams, its not as hard as it may seem, You got to work hard to get the cream. Show them how bad you want this, It is all or nothing, give your everything. These lyrics are telling us that it may be hard to achieve

  1. A Comparative Analytical Commentary of Debussys Syrinx and Prlude l'Aprs-midi d'un Faune

    Quickly there is a diminution of this whole tone theme to give a deceptively more complicated sound: Following this Debussy again uses shorter rhythms to squeeze more notes into the same amount of time taken as the last section. The effect created is a pattern of "fast" sections alternating with

  2. Module 1 consisted of each individual dance pupil being instructed to perform a solo ...

    However there were times when practicing in the dance studio when I would improvise movements and then I would remember them and add them into my choreographed dance.

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