• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month
  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
  6. 6
  7. 7
  8. 8
  9. 9

Comparing and Contrasting Poems

Extracts from this document...


Comparing and Contrasting Poems. Culture, tradition and faith, 'The Night of the Scorpion' by Nissim Ezekiel and 'Sacrifice' by Taufiq Rafat are two poems that revolve around these themes. The poets question and criticise these values and provoke the reader to think; should culture and tradition have any value in today's society? Is faith still a legitimate factor in the 21st century? Both poets debate this highly controversial issue through their personal recollection and feelings towards them now that they look back on them. Both titles have a magnetism to them which draws us in, curious and hungry for more. Rafat's title 'Sacrifice' is short and snappy where he effectively uses the negative connotation of the word 'Sacrifice', and uses the utter horror that people feel when they come to know that such a concept is still alive somewhere and not yet banished to the past. Ezekiel also employs the effective use of negative connotation of the words 'Night' and 'Scorpion', as well as drawing the reader in with curiosity, but he does so in a different manner. Ezekiel uses the simplicity of the words to give the reader a taste of his work and plays upon the emotions that words such as 'Night' and 'Scorpion' arouse in people. Scorpions are considered very deadly and unlucky creatures throughout the world and when the reader sees this word immediately visualises a dangerous creature and so using only the title of the poem the poet has already started to evoke imagery and has started to use the reader's defencelessness. The kinglike qualities we assume the scorpion has after reading the title are the way the poet plays on our curiosity and vulnerability. Ezekiel uses the simple words: 'The Night of the Scorpion' to catch the reader's eye, even the words 'of the' signify the scorpion and give us such a sense of power that we are left amazed. ...read more.


He starts to justify the sacrifice in the second stanza and in the end tells us about the setting and atmosphere: 'The glare of the sun, The heat and the smell of blood' This helps the reader visualise the circumstances the poet is in. In many ways the concept of the poems are different but both poets set their poems in order to give us a view of their culture and religion. We guess using the poet's names that they themselves belong to the culture that they are criticising in the poem; this similarity is very prominent throughout both the poems. Both poets create a setting in which they are onlookers. We are shown that Rafat is more involved in the ceremony because of the use of 'we' instead of 'they' as Ezekiel used and also because in line 7 he tells us; ' we stand in tight circle.' Despite all of his critical opinions he is part of that ritual, still he gives the reader the impression that he doesn't have a say in that matter. Both poets are shown to be spectators of the event which is ironic in Rafat's case as he says he is standing in the circle which undoubtedly symbolises the unity in between the group but when he tells us his real views they are absolutely the opposite of what he is participating in. In contrast Ezekiel never shows us that he is part of the ceremony in any way and is always depicted as an observer. He use the word 'they' or refers to the peasants as 'swarms of flies' in line 8 also in line 41 as well as line 42 he tell us that he 'watched'. Using all these references we can sum up that Ezekiel shows no wish to be part of the customs taking place in front of him. He doesn't regard any of the incantations by suggesting the peasants 'buzzed the name of God'. ...read more.


Even though this poet isn't too harsh with his sentences we are shown that all the prayers and incantations meant nothing to him, similar to Rafat's conclusion. Both poets end their poems leaving the reader with a strong feeling about the poem, some enraged by the way they have criticised the religions and most horrified by realizing what is going on in the world. Both poets have kept their last stanzas small, I think it's to show the reader the significance of the lines as these are the lines that summarise and conclude the whole poem. Ezekiel uses the role of a mother to end his poem: 'My mother only said Thank God the scorpion picked on me And spared my children.' This shows that the poet isn't the only one critical of the people's beliefs but so is his mother as she does not believe that it was meant to be a punishment by an agent of the devil but it 'picked' on her as if it was going to pick on somebody it was just by chance that it was her. Rafat concludes his poem with a very strong metaphor that sums up how much he disagrees with the ritual: 'We are not laying the foundations of a house, But another Dachau.' Both poems have a very strong theme of cultural beliefs and both poets are very critical of it. I personally favoured the 'Night of the Scorpion' because of the many effective devices used and the story like layout. I thought 'Sacrifice' was good as well especially the shifting of perspectives and I believe that it penalises the reader to put themselves in Rafat's position and see the occurrence through his outlook ;but overall I found Ezekiel's poem to have a greater impact on my opinion towards cultural and superstitious beliefs. He also challenged the beliefs and faiths but I feel he did it more subtly, where Rafat used comparisons to the 'Dachau', Ezekiel ingeniously does the same but without overwhelming the reader. ?? ?? ?? ?? Tajwar Iqbal. English-maple 6 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Comparing poems section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Comparing poems essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Compare how the past reveals feelings about a place in Nothings Changed with the ...

    5 star(s)

    "I back from the glass...........Nothings changed." This shows when the poet comes back to this place, it reminds him of how difficult it was as a young man living in this place and that prejudice and racism that he saw when living there. He is literally has been a boy again leaving a small mean O, in the glass of the restaurant.

  2. Culture; what is it and where does it come from?

    When talking to my mates, gladly they all understand Urdu; I throw a few of my own words in it. When I don't want someone to know what were talking about I talk Urdu, its kind of fun, a code within itself.

  1. Comparing Poems From Other Cultures; Night of the Scorpion and Nothing's Changed

    But of course racism in such a potent way is no longer accepted although it still exists as society's outlook on racism has moved on and matured from when this poem was written in 1990. The drastic differences in the poem even continue to the structure of the poem while

  2. Compare the way the poems Half-Caste(TM) and Nothing(TM)s Changed(TM) deal with the ...

    Therefore in lines 48-51 he gives an imperative command to the listener 'but yu must come back tomorrow / wid de whole of yu eye / an de whole of yu ear / an de whole of yu mind...' The impression that the reader gets from this is that he

  1. Discuss Merle Hodge'S Crick Crack Monkey As a Novel

    Tantie represents the Caribbean culture and thus she tries to preserve it in Tee. It seems that the culture in which Tee is living is mixed with the European culture and there are many agents of 'westernization' which are present in the society.

  2. Balance sheet by John Montague - In Romney Marsh by John Davidson - ...

    is easily possible to send a message to distant places, whereas before it would have been a huge obstacle to get a message across the country. The telegraph wires are symbolising the big changes at the time of John Davidson.

  1. Poetry Comparisons

    'Long Distance', this title is very ambiguous it could mean a long distance phone call which would be extremely long distance if it's the mother that's calling or it could mean he's a long distance from his family. The rhyme schemes of these two poems are very different, 'Long Distance',

  2. Compare the ways the poet reveals feelings about a place in Nothing's Changed with ...

    Onomatopoeia is used representing the Harsh and Bitter Language. "Cuffs, Cans" and "Crunch" are used to show the brewing of anger and feelings of the poet towards Districts Six's Inequalities. The Language used by Ezekiel in 'Night of the Scorpion' is done to represent the culture of the Hindu community.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work