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A Comparison Between Two Complementary Poems - 'Old Father' and 'Island Man'.

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Analysing Poetry - English Coursework A Comparison Between Two Complementary Poems The two complementary poems 'Old Father' and 'Island Man' are based on the subject of two diverse men who are coping with an experience of migrating to another country. In this coursework we will discuss these poems, then compare, and contrast their theme and language. Hugh Boatswain's 'Old Father' appeared in an anthology called 'Writing' in 1978. Boatswain's work speaks to the condition of the racial tensions in the 70's and engages, in sparse poetic form, in much of the cultural analysis. Boatswain's poems demonstrate the importance of creativity, cultural transaction, and transition in the historicizing of West Indian migration and settlement in Britain. The poet has used a narrative description in the poem to portray his views and thoughts to the members of the audience. The poem relates to a series of events of old father in a chronological order of his life. The poem depicts the livelihood and culture of a person from a distant atmosphere and surrounding who goes through a lot of hardships in the beginning due to the unknown environment. The poet has then given a brief sketch of his adaptation to the society and how he changes to accept those adaptations. The poem creates a depressing feeling in our hearts as the poet describes how old father forgets his culture and roots by his behaviour. ...read more.


These figures of speech and choice of worlds create a rhythmatic design; this maintains the reader with an interested attitude. A lot of attention is given to the use of punctuations. Boatswain's way of describing and explaining imagery is noteworthy. For example 'Cold bite him hard' (Line No.2), this shows how painful the weather is to this Caribbean man in the beginning of his arrival. We can see how Boatswain's use of language is very descriptive but concise and effective. The other poem 'Island Man' is a piece of poetry written by Grace Nichols. She was born in Guyana and came to Britain in 1977. She writes this poem in context to a Caribbean man who has settled in London but still wakes up to the sound of the sea and the tranquillity of his native island. 'Island Man' consists of a wide range of sounds and images to express the Caribbean man's feelings and thinking. For example 'the sound of the blue surf' and 'the steady breaking and 'wombing' (Line No.3 and 5) are good examples of his use of language and images for the description of his feelings. This poem is also told in a narrative manner but unlike 'Old Father' the poem is more spontaneous. The poem is bought out in the form of a dream. A number of images are described to show how he imagined himself in his native island where there was no hindrance or disturbance but peace and tranquillity, whereas the atmosphere in London was completely contradictory to his dream. ...read more.


This opinion can be adapted in two contradictory perceptions. The white people may say it in the context that every person from another country, another culture should act like him. They should also adopt the behaviour and culture of the country they live in. The contradictory statement to this would be that the white people are saying that he was a person who was ready to change for his benefit of himself and in the end of the day for h is own betterment he would forget his friends. Hence they jump to the conclusion that he is just an example of those people who are of his culture and each would do anything for their own personal benefits forgetting their personal beliefs and culture. In the end I would conclude saying that both the poems state a moral towards us. In 'Old Father' we can say that a man should adapt towards his surrounding but that does not mean we should forget who we are, what is our identity. Whereas in 'Island Man' we can see that a man has come to another country but still has not let go of the memories of his own countries and hence is not able to move on and adapt the good qualities of the country he is living with. Hence we should learn from this poem that thinking about our past and not moving on would just lead to frustration and everything would go wrong. Hence we should keep up the pace in life and never look back and ponder. Raj Nathwani Page 1 5/2/2007 ...read more.

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