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Compare 'Presents from my Aunts in Pakistan' by Moniza Alvi and 'Nothings Changed' by Tatamkhulu Afrika - Comment on the conflict between two cultures in the poem and the way the poets express this.

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Introduction

Compare 'Presents from my Aunts in Pakistan' by Moniza Alvi and 'Nothings Changed' by Tatamkhulu Afrika. Comment on the conflict between two cultures in the poem and the way the poets express this. In 'Presents from my Aunts in Pakistan' the speaker is a girl who has one English parent and one parent from Pakistan. As a result she feels torn between the two very different cultures. She does not feel at home in either England or Pakistan. She shows this by saying "I longed for denim and corduroy" When trying on the Saris and Salwar Kameezes. She feels English in Pakistan and Pakistani in England "I could not rise out of its fire half-English" This quote means that she can rise up out of the Pakistani clothes because she is not fully Pakistani or English. Another quote that shows this is "I tried on each satin-silken top- was alien in the sitting room" This means that wearing the Pakistani clothes made her feel out of place in the English sitting room. She feels similar to Tatankhulu Afrika in 'Nothings Changed' because he is also stuck between two cultures the 'blacks' and 'whites'. ...read more.

Middle

The poet shows this by making it just three lines long "no sign says it is: but we know where we belong" It is so important as it sums up the whole message of the poem. It says that although the apartheid government has left power 'no sign says it is'. The black peoples of South Africa are aware that the problem of racism still stands in their way 'we know where we belong'. This is the theme of the whole poem and those three lines sum it up really well. The poet in 'Presents from my Aunts in Pakistan' uses many poetic devices to make the poem more effective. She uses nature to describe many of the clothes in the poem such as "Peacock blue," "...an orange split open" and "apple-green" She does this so that the reader can picture the colours of the garments easily because they can associate the colours with items that they see around them. The poet uses the repetition of the word 'I' to emphasise the fact that it is her opening the presents and her memories of Pakistan. This is effective because the poem would not be as powerful if the poet was writing in the third-person because being written from Moniza Alvis' point of view makes it easier for the reader to put themselves in her shoes. ...read more.

Conclusion

It has taught me how we have to learn more about the Pakistani and other cultures instead of living in ignorance. I believe that this is one reason that we study R.E. in school, to increase our knowledge of other people's religions and cultures. 'Nothings Changed' has shown me that if people have lived with something like racism for decades it will take a lot of hard work to change peoples actions and beliefs after the law or barriers have been removed. It shows the anger and resentment that black people feel towards whites in an apartheid regime. It shows the reader how much of a struggle it is for blacks to receive equal rights in South Africa from the white population. In conclusion 'Presents from my Aunts in Pakistan' and 'Nothings changed' are similar in the way that they show the problems that can arise when two conflicting cultures meet. The two poems show the problems in different ways. 'Presents from my Aunts in Pakistan' shows this indirectly in the form of a girl opening gifts from her Pakistani relatives. While the poet in 'Nothings Changed' uses a more emotional direct approach to the issue. Brendan Thorne 27/04/07 ...read more.

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