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Comparing poems from different cultures.

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Introduction

Comparing poems from different cultures. By Claire Barnett-Jones Many poems deal with the theme of cultural identity. I have chosen three to compare, they are: Search For My Tongue, by Sujata Bhatt Half-Caste, by John Agard and Presents from my Aunts in Pakistan, by Moniza Alvi. I chose these three poems because I feel that they all deal with different aspects of cultural identity. For example Search for my tongue covers the aspect of losing your native tongue and using a 'foreign' language, Half-Caste addresses the point of racism and stereotyping, whilst Presents from my Aunts in Pakistan highlights the issues of alienation and not being able to fit in with either side of your family. Search For My Tongue is quite unusual as instead of the text being in one language all the way through it starts in English and then changes into Arabic part of the way through. This leaves the reader with a feeling of disorientation and that the reader, unless bilingual in those two languages, can not read or make sense of the foreign language. ...read more.

Middle

This poems theme bases itself on not judging people at face value and not putting people into 'boxes'. This poem to me seems less formal than Search For My Tongue even though they are both written in the first person. The poem first starts in Common English and introduces its self by saying he's a half-caste and he stands on one leg. This small phrase actually sends across quite an important message, so its saying ' if you call me half-caste, does that mean I am half a person or I stand on half of myself?' The poem then changes into Caribbean English where it gives the reader 'evidence' for not calling people half-caste. This is done by using examples like; '...Wha yu mean when yu say half-caste yu mean when picasso mix red an green is a half-caste canvas' Picasso would do this all the time but society wouldn't call it a half-caste canvas, they'd call it a master piece. ...read more.

Conclusion

In Half-Caste the writer wants not be called names, and in Present from my Aunts in Pakistan the writer is annoyed with not being able to fit in with either side of their family. For example when her Aunts bring the Candy-striped glass bangles they snapped and made her wrists bleed, this is because people from Asia are very small boned, so because of her being mixed race she was not able to put then. Also it says that her school friends where not impressed by her Salwar kameez, they wanted to see weekend clothes and where not interested in the mirror work or the story how three of them sailed toto England. I find all of these poems very interesting and thought provoking. My favourite out of these three is half-caste because it give such a strong point and all the examples make sense. Where we live there aren't many people from different cultures, so we don't face racism and people from mixed race that often. These poems make you see the points of view and traditions of other cultures. ...read more.

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