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

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Introduction

Poems From Other Cultures In this essay I am going to be comparing to poems from two different cultures. "Night of the Scorpion" by Nissim Ezekiel and Tatamkhulu Africa's "Nothing's Changed." I feel the poems have two different cultures as although both poets leave an impression of being impoverished , in night of the scorpion the neighbours all work together as a community to help each other. While in Nothings Changed it is the complete contrast to that as the community is divided, by racism. Nissim Ezekiel is often credited with beginning the modernist movement in India and was one of India's best known poets. "Nothings Changed" is an autobiographical poem. Tatamkhulu Afrika lived in Cape Town's District 6, which was then a thriving mixed-race inner-city community. People of all colours and beliefs lived together peacefully, and Afrika said he felt 'at home' there. "Night of the Scorpion" is set in a poverty stricken area. You can see this from Nissim Ezekiel's vocabulary such as "sacks of rice" this shows us that the villagers have to have to eat cheap bland food. He also illustrates an image of poverty from "the peasants came like swarms of flies" he uses this simile for specific effect to emphasise the poor living standards the villagers live in aswell as that it's a hot, unhygienic and dirty environment. ...read more.

Middle

the division "Working mans caf�" the contrast is exaggerated in this way for the specific effect of showing the inequality he witnessed. You can also see that in "Night of the Scorpion" being bitten by a scorpion is a normal part of there culture, this idea is given from the lines "peace of understanding on each face." And again from "My mother only said Thank God the scorpion picked on me And spared my children." this line is enjambment and creates rhythm to the lines and makes it more poetic, this quotation also shows that she is a good mother and she would prefer the pain to happen to her than her children. But it also shows she is pragmatic and is accepting her fate, her culture. In "Nothings Changed" there is not much mention of religion or the poets beliefs whilst in " Night of the scorpion" - "flash of diabolic tail in the dark room" here you can see the poet is comparing the scorpion to the devil this shows the fear and evil the community feel towards the scorpion and also that they are religious. There belief in religion can again be seen in "the sins of your previous birth." "May your suffering decrease the misfortunes of your next birth, they said" from this line it is clear that the community believe in reincarnation and that how you are in this life affects the next. ...read more.

Conclusion

But also within that controlled pattern it can be noted that the length of the sentences varied from a whole stanza to just two words. When reading "Night of the Scorpion" and "Nothing's Changed" I thought it was interesting to compare and contrast the two poems not only to each others culture but to our own, and see the similarities and differences between them. From the two poems I have found it ironic how the community and neighbours who are willing to help don't have the resources to help there , Night of the Scorpion. Even though the suffering in "Nothing's Changed" is very different too that in "Night of the Scorpion" it still remains that the culture that does have the ability and resources to help choose not to help end the suffering of there neighbours. This brought me to the conclusion that although from the cover there cultures may seem similar as both poets seem poverty stricken, it is under completely different circumstances. The differences carry on into the attitude and tone of the poet, for example in "Nothings Changed" the poet shows strong emotion and is angry and saddened by the racism that exists as he is clearly very opinionated on the subject. Whilst in "Night of the Scorpion" he shows very little emotion and tells the poem like it is a story, this could be because it is an accepted part of his culture and isn't out of the ordinary for his society while It would be in ours. ?? ?? ?? ?? Abigail Baxendale R11 ...read more.

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