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An Unknown Girl, by Moniza Alvi - the experience of being female & seeking identity

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  • Essay length: 830 words
  • Submitted: 05/04/2004
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GCSE Moniza Alvi: Presents from my Aunts in Pakistan

The first 200 words of this essay...

"An Unknown Girl"

An Unknown Girl, by Moniza Alvi, is another poem, which explores the experience of being female, but is more specific to seeking identity. From her name and the poem, I think she is from an Indian family, but now lives in England. It sounds like she has gone to India to visit and see if she truly is Indian or will live a better life in England.

The poem generally, describes a young girl at a night market stall, who is hennaing people's body. Moniza Alvi is having her hand hennaed, with the picture of a peacock. As she sits patiently, she looks around and describes everything in her sight, using many poetic techniques, especially metaphors, which lead you into thinking about other meanings of what she has written.

The poem, after the first couple of lines, begins with the phrase,

"An unknown girl is hennaing my hand."

This phrase is repeated throughout the poem. It keeps you thinking about the 'unknown girl'. Right from the start you think that this 'unknown girl', must be the girl hennaing, but the ending gives it a twist, and I think

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