• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Discuss how the poets use language to express a sense of culture and identity in Half Caste

Extracts from this document...


Discuss how the poets use language to express a sense of culture and identity in Search for my Tongue and Half-Caste In this essay, I am going to discuss how the poets, Sujata Bhatt and John Agard use language to express a sense of culture and identity in their poems, Search for my Tongue and Half-Caste. The first poem I am going to write about is Search for my Tongue. Sujata Bhatt was born in 1956 in a country called Ahmedabad. In 1968, she emigrated to the United States of America. Search for my Tongue's mood begins with confusion and progresses to acceptance of their cultural identity. In the poem 'Search for my Tongue' Sujata Bhatt shows how her identity is important to her in quite a lot of ways. Bhatt describes that when she loses her mother tongue over her other language, she is losing part of herself, her home language and her culture. ...read more.


when she begins to use her Gujarati language. Also, if you just glanced at the poem, you would notice that the Gujarati stands out on the page. Bhatt uses this because she feels she stands out because she speaks that language. The final section of the poem is actually a translation of the Gujarati text in the middle of the poem. It is about a dream which she has where her mother tongue grows back. When Sujata Bhatt speaks about the plant, she could mean that if plants are not living in the correct conditions, then they will die. Therefore, she is implying the fact that she could suffer if she doesn't have the capability of speaking the language of her mother tongue. The next poem I am going to discuss is Half Caste, by John Agard. John Agard was born in 1949 in a country called Guyana. He moved to England in 1977. In the poem John Agard is emphasising the stupidity and offensiveness of the phrase "half-caste". ...read more.


Agard uses these types of imagery because he wants to ask the question, Why do people who are mixed race get called half caste when you wouldn't call the weather, a piece of art from Picasso or a piece of music from Tchaikovsky half-caste? The poem shows how language can hurt people's feelings, and Agard also gives a social comment on prejudice and racism. The poem is presented in a positive manner, not a negative one, and it is written with a humour and sarcasm tone. Agard regularly repeats the terms "half", "yu", "yuself" and towards the end "whole". Agard uses the term "whole to say that a person is a full thing, not half like the term "half-caste" implies. Agard uses lowercase letters for names of things and places. Examples of this include "england", "picasso" and "tchaikovsky." Here John Agard could be saying that if no-one cares about people calling him half a person then why should he bother giving people and places capital letters for their names. Paul Mather 10WS 1st April 2007 Page 1 of 3 ...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 John Agard: Half-Caste section.

Found what you're looking for?

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

Here's what a star student thought of this essay

3 star(s)

Response to the question

This is a question to compare, and as such, there needs to be a clear comparison between the two poems. This candidate has retained focus on the question in terms of identifying how the poets Sujatta Bhatt and John Agard ...

Read full review

Response to the question

This is a question to compare, and as such, there needs to be a clear comparison between the two poems. This candidate has retained focus on the question in terms of identifying how the poets Sujatta Bhatt and John Agard use language to convey the importance of cultural identity, but there is little obvious comparison between the poems. Because of this, the essay suffers, as it does not answer the question. The analysis given from the candidate is entirely representative of a middle C grade candidate, but because there is no comparison between the two poems the highest achievable grade is only a middle D.
To help with this, it is advisable that instead of addressing each poem in the comparison individually, and thus running the risk of saying all you know about one and then the other, with no comparative links in between (as this candidate has done) it would be more successful if candidates were to address a certain point pertaining to the question proposed and then analyse it's use in the two poems chosen. For example, the candidate, in this question, could comment on the use of phonetics in 'Half-Caste' and Gujarati in 'Search For My Tongue' - two ways in which the poets connect with the reader and force them into their position by making them speak like they do (to wear their shoes, effectively) - the candidates would then identify how this effect is used and it's effect on the reader (as I briefly mentioned above, it is to place the concept of two different cultures in one person). And, after making the successful comparison, the candidate would then move on to the next point and do the same. This actively encourages the comparative element of analysis.

Level of analysis

The Level of Analysis here is stunted somewhat by the lack of comparison, but as stated earlier, this candidate shows the ability to achieve middle C if they work on their comparison skills. Where this candidate does well is their attention to how the poets shape language and choose specific phrases like "mother tongue" in order to inform their analysis. However, this is one of frequent moments where their is simply not enough detail to gain higher than a C grade. The candidate chooses to comment extensively on the use of the word "tongue" in the aforementioned phrase but it is in fact the word "mother" that merits the analysis - "mother" having resonance of care-giving, nurture, unconditional love, and safety - it's no wonder Bhatt is worried she's forgetting it. This is the kind of language analysis that is required for GCSE candidates to achieve the highest grades.
Where the candidate could save time is directly informing the readers what they're going to do next, before they do it: "The first poem I am going to write about is Search for my Tongue.". This kind of phrasing is unnecessary as the examiners will see and understand which poems you are writing about so long as you provide both the title and the poet in the opening few sentences to the analysis. Also, candidates win no marks for poet auto-biographies, so the author's birth dates and birth places gather no marks and simply waste precious exam time.
This candidate also lost marks due to a lack of cohesive conclusion. Conclusions, regardless of how little new information they bring, must be included in every candidates answer. There are no excuses and it is in the conclusion that the examiner will be able to tell if the candidate can draw together all the ideas from their above answer, so there is no excuse for omitting one.

Quality of writing

The Quality of Written Communication (QWC) is fair. The main issue with this response is that the method of quoting is not the standard format required for essay writing. When quoting from any source text, quotation marks (" ") must be used. When writing the title of a text, inverted commas (' ') are used instead e.g. "explain yuself" from 'Half-Caste'. Other than that, whilst very basic in punctuation, vocabulary and grammar, this answer is soundly presented in terms of QWC.

Did you find this review helpful? Join our team of reviewers and help other students learn

Reviewed by sydneyhopcroft 27/02/2012

Read less
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 John Agard: Half-Caste essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Poetry from other cultures

    3 star(s)

    In this example, he is describing how Tchaikovsky composes his symphonies. '...mix a black key wid a white key is a half-caste symphony' Here, Agard is referring specifically and directly to different races. He us comparing different skin colours to different coloured objects.

  2. Peer reviewed

    Compare How Agard Challenges Particular Values and Ways of Thinking in Listen Mr. Oxford ...

    4 star(s)

    Agard uses non-standard English in 'Listen Mr. Oxford Don'. He uses a lot of double negatives for example, "Me not no Oxford Don". Many of his spellings also comes from the Caribbean dialect: "de", "dont", "ent", etc. Both double negatives and Caribbean dialect spellings are informal and non-standard.

  1. Peer reviewed

    How do the poets of Half-Caste and Not my Business talk about discrimination?

    4 star(s)

    The poet puts across the message that just because someone is half caste, they shouldn't be mistaken for half the person they are. In the second stanza, Agard takes very famous people, namely Picasso and Tchaikovsky, "when yu say half-caste yu mean when Picasso mix red and green is a

  2. Compare and Contrast Search for my tongue and Half caste.

    He asks how the audience feels as light and dark are mixed in the sky, "mix in de sky" he makes a joke by commenting on the English weather, "England weather nearly alwas half caste". Because he is from a Caribbean background he uses a pun on the word "overcast" to suggest we have too many classes.

  1. Discuss the ways in which relationships between parents and children are explored by the ...

    * He doesn't use the standard form of punctuation. This is partly because it's a poem that is written to be performed aloud. Agard has said: 'Sometimes I think no punctuation can be effective because if the words are floating in space it gives the reader a chance to punctuate with their own breath...'

  2. Comparing Three Poems 'Half-Caste' 'Search For My Tongue' & 'Unrelated Incidents'.

    The news, where you will mainly hear the news read from a person who speaks with the 'right' accent. "this is thi six a clock news thi man said n thi reason a tok wia BBC accent iz coz yi widny wahnt mi ti talk aboot thi trooth wia voice lik wanna yoo scruff..."

  1. I have chosen Half-Caste and Nothing's Changed because both discuss the issue of racism.

    Also 'crushed ice' could have a different meaning from Tatamkhulu's view as 'crushed' is used there, and 'white glass' being used to describe the 'haute cuisine' just brings the reader back to 'hot, white, inwards turning anger..'. However John doesn't express anger but turns the poem round accusing that he

  2. Comparing Poems

    This softens the convict's so far black and heartless shell, but only slightly. When he learns that Pips brother in law who he lives with is a blacksmith, he sees a way out of his desperate predicament. When the convict commands Pip to bring him a file and some food,

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