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Compare the ways the poets use description in from Search for my Tongue and Presents from my Aunts in Pakistan by Moniza Alvi.

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Compare the ways the poets use description in 'from Search for my Tongue' and one other poem. 'Search for my tongue' but Sojata Bhatt and 'Presents from my Aunts in Pakistan' by Moniza Alvi both use description in their poems. The language in 'Search for my tongue' by Sujata Bhatt is very negative in the first section of the poem. She uses a metaphor for her first language as a "tongue" which "would rot, rot and die in your mouth until you had to spit it out." The negative language of her tongue rotting is very emotional for the reader as they would not like their tongue to "rot and die" either. ...read more.


It could also show that she does not fit into her Pakistani culture because the native clothes break and injure her. In 'Search for my Tongue', Bhatt shows the positive image of a "mother tongue". People refer to mothers as protecting, warm and caring so when she "had to spit it out" for the "foreign tongue", she felt that she had lost part of her which kept her feeling safe. The use of "foreign" is more pejorative and shows how she feels isolated and lost without her "mother tongue". Likewise, Alvi uses the pejorative term of "was alien in the sitting room" to show how she felt like she didn't fit into the western culture by wearing Pakistani clothing. ...read more.


On the other hand, Moniza Alvi remains confused throughout the poem by "playing with a tin boat" which represents her culture drifting between nationalities. It also represents her being born in Pakistan but belonging in England so therefore does not fit into any culture. In addition, she talks about being of "no fixed nationality staring through the fretwork" which shows that she does not know who she is and is an outsider looking into a place of people with fixed nationality. Both poems use description to different effect: 'Search for my Tongue' shows the death and rebirth of a person's culture whilst 'Presents from my Aunts in Pakistan' shows the cultural confusion that will remain in a person forever. ...read more.

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Response to the question

The answer presented here is for a question that asks about the descriptions of in 'from: Search for my Tongue' and 'Presents from My Aunts in Pakistan'. The essay demonstrates all the indicators of someone who, with the right direction, ...

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Response to the question

The answer presented here is for a question that asks about the descriptions of in 'from: Search for my Tongue' and 'Presents from My Aunts in Pakistan'. The essay demonstrates all the indicators of someone who, with the right direction, can answer to an solid B grade effort, though this essay is hindered somewhat at the fact that the candidate comments only on a range linguistic and poetic devices used on both poems. A greater focus on the use of metaphors, similes and personification would improve this essay, but the content analysis displayed here is indicative of a low B grade.

Level of analysis

The Level of Analysis shown is very good and is of average depth expected from a GCSE candidate. It is good to see a clear understanding of the poems, but perhaps a more coherent quoting system whereby, because the question steer is so focused on the language specifically, the candidate comment on the effect of particular words and phrases rather than whole lines of stanzas, e.g. - "orange split open" suggests a fruit - nutritious and life-giving - that is not whole, and the use of the word "split" - and further on, "drew blood" - is violent, like the other half (Alvi's Pakistani roots) have been severed away with a knife of sorts. Similarly, in 'from: Search for my Tongue', there could be a more specific commentary of language. With this latter poem, the candidate does not delve into a deep enough depth to gain many successful analysis marks as the motion of "positive" and "negative" language is primary school stuff. The candidate should comment on the use Gujarati in better respect also; the fact that it shows her Indian roots re-affirming their place in her heart and mind even in the UK must not be omitted.

Quality of writing

The Quality of Written Communication here is average. There are a few moments where words/names that should have been capitalised are left in lower case, and this is an example of low QWC that is likely to penalise marks, as these are very basic writing rules. Elsewhere, the grammar and punctuation are kept in very good stead although a greater range of more complex punctuation points could vary the sentence lengths and make the answer far more interesting and enthusiastically written overall.

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Reviewed by sydneyhopcroft 15/03/2012

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