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An Analysis of a Favourite Grace Nichols Poem.

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Introduction

An Analysis of a Favourite Grace Nichols Poem In this essay I will be writing about one of the Grave Nichols poems that I have studied. I will refer to other poems that have the same theme or technique that Grace Nichols uses. I have decided to analyze "Childhood". Grace Nichols was born in Georgetown, Guyana in 1950. She was educated at St. Stephan's Scot School, PPI High School and Guyana's University. She worked as a teacher, a Guyanese Government employee and a freelance journalist before she moved to Britain in 1977. She is now regarded as the most authoritative spokeswoman among contemporary black women poets in Britain today. "The Fat Black Woman's Poems", which she wrote in 1984 uses humor to deconstruct a racial and sexual stereotype, this collection of poetry is the one I have studied and will be analyzing an extract from. This poem describes about growing up in another culture. The way it's expressed is by using the aspect of catching fish. When she moves from the culture she's adapted to and arrives another where they catch fish differently, she finds it strange. She has a lot of positive memories of her culture and now she is in a new one, it contrasts with the way she was brought up. Religion and morals are questioned in this poem because where she was brought up it was ok to catch the fish in that way, but now she's in a new culture she is surrounded by opinions that say that is the wrong way. ...read more.

Middle

The word "at" shows that she's been or she knows what is there. Again contrast between our societies that could be related to the poem "Fear". I also think the Grace Nichols has made it sound like she's looking through rose-coloured glasses. "My Childhood" indicates that what she talks about in the poem is mostly a memory; based on other poems like "Two Old Black Men on a Leicester Square Park Bench" we may think that this memory is distorted. Childhood is simple and happy. Its almost "blind to reality" and completely carefree as you have hardly any responsibilities. This poem has a melancholy undertone to it and a feeling of being homesick is all the way through this poem. It makes the reader feel sad to read about this person being confused and regretful that she came to a different culture that she wasn't used to. "A watershed of sunlight", a watershed is like a line or parting from the sunlight she was used to as a child. The word sunlight makes me think positively of thing and the sunlight is supposed to represent her homeland. A watershed is also imposed to protect people from something that may be offending but the emphasis on sunlight pulls us away from thinking that her childhood was bad, but makes us think that she was either protected and safe or protected from the truth of the world. ...read more.

Conclusion

"Sunfish/patwa/butterfish." Her Grace is just saying words but it gives us the impression she is remembering all the tropical and exotic fish living in the author's homeland. Sunfish is a brightly coloured fish and a butterfish is like an eel. However, "patwa" is an irregular spelling of patois, which is an informal variation of a language. This maybe because she doesn't know how to spell it or she wants all the words to fit with each other. She has written it in the way she has to quicken the rhythm like a list. The forward slashes is what causes the rhythm and pace and creates this listing effect. To use a simple conjunction would slow the line down. "Beneath the mirror surfacing." She is using the same word that means two different things. It could mean the surface of the water is like a mirror linking back to the image of the sunlight or it could mean the fish coming to the surface of the water. "Bare hand I gripped." The word order is unusual. Due to the word order it causes the sentence to be ambiguous. It could mean she grips the fish or it could mean she's gripping her hands in frustration or anger. I chose this poem over the others given to me because I think that it has a very clear message that our culture needs to take heed to. It's my favourite because this poem seems to be about Grace Nichols' life rather than her experiences of things, which makes me think its more personal. ...read more.

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