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Compare the way the poems Half-Caste(TM) and Nothing(TM)s Changed(TM) deal with the theme of racism. Which poem do you think is most effective?

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Introduction

Compare the way the poems 'Half-Caste' and 'Nothing's Changed' deal with the theme of racism. Which poem do you think is most effective? My essay is about two poems that we have been studying. John Agard's 'Half-Caste' and Tatamkhulu Afrika's 'Nothing's Changed'. The purpose of this essay is to show the differences and the similarities of these two poems as well as to explore the poet's feelings about racial injustice. Furthermore I am going to explain the poet's purpose and attitude to the society that surrounds them. I will also describe the different impressions that each poet is trying to give to the reader. Both poets depict a powerful view and concept about the theme of racism. To begin with I am going to talk about the poet's background information and what each poem is briefly about. The first poet; John Agard was born on the 21st of June 1949 in British Guiana (now Guyana). He came to England from Guyana in 1977, where he became a touring lecturer. From there he spread his Caribbean culture and ethnicity around the UK. Like many Caribbean's, he himself is of mixed race. The second poet; Tatamkhulu Afrika was born in Egypt in 1920 and came to South Africa (Cape Town's District 6) as a young child and lived there for a long time. He began writing poetry when he was in his sixties and has published four collections of poems about his experiences in South Africa. ...read more.

Middle

According to the tone that the poems are read, both poets deal with the theme of racism in an entirely different attitude. In 'Nothing's Changed' Afrika has a different perspective of life than in 'Half-Caste'. The poet's predominant focal points in 'Nothings Changed' are identity, politics and people. He looks at the white ruling party and the government's views of the country and the people as well as showing how they make no genuine difference. Initially, identity plays the main role in this poem, since colour of skin, separation and knowing where you belong is evidently exposed in this poem. This is according to the end of stanza 3 and the beginning of stanza 4 'guard at the gatepost, / whites only inn. / No sign says it is: / but we know where we belong.' The guards have been purposely placed to protect black people from coming in and that these places are only for white people. Such as; 'new, up-market, haute cuisine,' He records this moment and reflects upon it. Regardless of the change (end of apartheid), there is still discrimination against blacks from whites. Albeit the situation is supposed to have changed, Afrika knows that the new restaurant is really 'whites only inn'. He feels that nothing has really changed in South Africa. Talking about how nothing has changed relates to the title 'Nothings Changed'. The title suggests that when he returned back to South Africa his life was still the same and the conditions were unchanged. ...read more.

Conclusion

compared to the rest of the sentences in the poems. This sentence is the same as the title and I believe that Afrika purposely did this to give you his last thought and the effect it has on the reader is that they think deeper about his poem and his message. Going back to identity in 'Nothing's Changed' the poet uses many symbols to show the separation between blacks and whites. For example in stanza 3 line 18 'name flaring like a flag', just like a flag symbolises distinctiveness, this line symbolises that this area or place is for whites. Compared to 'Half-Caste', Agard uses humour to symbolise his identity, such as in stanza 5 lines 45 and 46 'I half-caste human being cast half-a-shadow', stanza 1 lines 7-9 '...when picasso mix red an green is a half-caste canvas', To the reader this shows how unintelligent it is to propose that some one is half-caste and to judge them by their colour of skin and their characteristics. He expresses his feelings sarcastically yet with a lot of significance. In conclusion I believe that everyone should be treated with equal eminence and groups should not be formed with diverse ideological beliefs, since that is what causes these conflicts. As a result I feel that Agard's poem 'Half-Caste' has more of an effect on me and in my opinion it is more effective since the impression I got from this is that John Agard beyond doubt acquires the humorous and sarcastic yet serious side of the differences that half-caste people go through in every day life. ?? ?? ?? ?? Hamza Qulatein 1 ...read more.

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