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different cultures poetry

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Robert Harrison 11S GCSE English Literature Coursework Poems from different cultures In this essay I am going to look at and compare two poems called Half-Caste by John Agard and Search for My Tongue by Sujata Bhatt. Half-Caste is about being mixed race as Agard's mother was white but his father was black and he came to England from the Caribbean. The word 'half-caste', can be used to describe people of mixed race but is considered rude and insulting. Search for My Tongue is about Bhatt who was born in India and spoke Gujarati as their first language but then moved to the U.S. and learnt English and describes what it is like to speak and think in both languages. Both Poems use a mixture of English and their own language which in the case of Half-Caste is Agard's West Indian Dialect and in Search for My Tongue is Bhatt's native language Gujarati. ...read more.


think that 'when picasso mix red an green is a half-caste canvas' which is like saying Picasso wasn't a good painter because he mixed colours in his paintings. Agard then goes on to say just because the English weather may be a mix of half light and half shade doesn't mean it is 'half -caste weather' or because Tchaikovsky played both the black and white keys of the piano he made a 'half-caste symphony'. Agard seems to be saying that just because he is half-caste it doesn't make him half a person and is challenging people who think that people who are mixed race are not as good as them. Whereas Bhatt has used metaphors in her poem such as the language being a tongue and her tongue being a plant or a flower, to show the reader what it is like to speak two languages, Agard has used comparisons such as the weather and famous artists to make the reader see that it is stupid to judge people by their colour. ...read more.


He is saying here that such people should see and listen to what he is saying and to open their minds and listen to what he is saying by telling the 'other half of my story'. The mix of both English and his Caribbean dialect works really well in the poem and he uses 'yu' instead of you or your and 'dem' instead of them. This is like he is using a mix of words as he is mixed race and he sees himself as both English and Caribbean. In the same way in 'Search for my tongue' Bhatt uses both languages in the poem as a way of showing the reader what it is like to speak, think and dream in two different languages. To conclude I feel that the poems are similar in many ways as they both use a mix of the poets own language and English but the express the writers feelings in different ways as Agard is challenging other peoples views about people who are mixed race whereas Bhatt is writing about her own experiences of having to speak two languages. ...read more.

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