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Compare 'Old Father' and 'Island Man'

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Introduction

Text from Other Cultures Text 1, 'Old Father' written by Hugh Boatswain is a narrative poem, it tells the story of a man who come from the Caribbean to come live in England in 1959. The man stays in England for quite a while and he begins to change his identity, for example he starts by wearing bright cloths, straightening his hair, driving a white car, walking about with blond women and going to the pub with white men. At the pub he also makes fun of his own people and eventually starts to ignore them, he also stops eating traditional Caribbean food such as dasheen, yam and saltfish. Text 2, 'Island Man' written by Grace Nichols is a different kind of poem, it does not tell a story, just a series of images. Each stanza in the poem describes a collection of different images. Island Man is a poem about a Caribbean man who lives in London. In the first stanza the man wakes up in his bed, dreaming about the beaches and blue waves of the Caribbean. In the second stanza the man is also thinking about the Caribbean and the wild sea birds and the fishermen pushing their boats out to sea. I feel that the reason why the Caribbean man is thinking about the Caribbean is to escape the smell and grime of a London morning. ...read more.

Middle

In this quote above we can see Old Father rejecting some of his traditional Caribbean food and making poor excuses not for eating it. Here are more examples of Old Father changing: * "Old father feet begin to shift" * "He don't say "Hello" no more" * "Old father don't want to know we know" In text 1, 'Old Father' the poem is written more descriptive and manifestly than 'Island Man'. He tries to bring different subjects to give a life to the poem. In the whole poem he mentioned the atmosphere in England for him and compared it to his own country. He has spent a lot of time in England but now he is dissatisfied and desperate to back to his motherland. In a short period of his life he tried to act like an English man. He tried to get habituated with the adjacent atmosphere and people. According to the poem some of his pretentious trying to be an English man is given bellow- * "Never brunette" He doesn't expect a woman with dark skin, hair and eyes. * "And his suit, cream or beige" He wears suit like an English man wear. * He use to make joke about black people and even he doesn't like black people to serve his ordered foods in the pub. * He doesn't eat Caribbean food. In text 2, 'Island man' is quite simple than 'Old father'. ...read more.

Conclusion

A negative example would by that the white people are saying that he is trying to somebody he is not which makes him an outcast. The white people think that he is an example to his people because maybe they are uplifted with Old Fathers ability to change/adapt. In my opinion I think that the white people are not saying the quote above in a raciest manor and they are saying that he is a good example to his people (Afro-Caribbean). The narrator of this poem believes that Old Father is a bad example to his people. I think that it is not right to change in this way to adapt to society because you should be proud of who you are no matter what your colour or religion is. By reading both poems and analysing them carefully I can conclude that in 'Old Father' is better in the sense of language and themes. The poet has used a large range of language skills such as similes, alliteration and a good use of Caribbean dialect. The way the writer has structured out the poem is impressive because the first stanza shows and introduction, stanza two, three and four shows Old Father changing/adapting. In 'Island Man' after reading the whole poem, I can sees that it is ambiguous - the island is both in the Caribbean and Great Britain. This poem neatly captures this division between a fantasy of the simple life and the working daily reality. Page 1 of 4 ...read more.

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