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GCSE: John Agard: Half-Caste

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  • Marked by Teachers essays 10
  • Peer Reviewed essays 5
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  1. Marked by a teacher

    Comparing poems 'halfe cast' and 'nothings changed'

    4 star(s)

    He refuses to be called half-caste as he finds it offensive. In both of these poems, the writer is dealing with the issues of racism. The two writers are expressing their anger and want the readers to take notice of how they feel. The two writers both use repetition throughout the poem. Tatamkhula used the phrase 'nothings changed' as both the title and the ending of the poem, this emphasises the fact that his whole poem is based on the fact that he feels that nothing has changed in his life, mainly on the aspect of the way black people are treated.

    • Word count: 1101
  2. Marked by a teacher

    How does John Agard make the poem Half-Caste seem controversial? Think about the main features of the poet's language which make it different from Standard English. Is the poem mainly directed against white people who use the term 'half-caste'?

    3 star(s)

    What the poem does do (which suggests that it is mostly directed towards white people) is challenge certain notions about black people. The images associated with 'half-caste' are often quite sophisticated, with references such as Tchaikovsky and Picasso, which many white people would (ignorantly) assume black people have no idea about. It also makes many critical references to English culture and weather, which is generally associated with white people. The poet switches between Standard English and dialect, which shows intelligence and sophistication while at the same time remaining in contact with one's roots.

    • Word count: 823
  3. Marked by a teacher

    The poems No Problem written by Benjamin Zephania and Half-Caste written by John Aguard illustrate strong feelings towards race

    3 star(s)

    It also shows that even from a young age when he was still at school he was racially abused and that people ridiculed him because of his race. The racist stunts imply that he was victimised for being different from other people and as he moved to England in the 1980's when there was a lot of riots between black people and the police this would have been a great change to the laid back lifestyle of Jamaica where most people in the neighbourhood knew everyone else.

    • Word count: 1066
  4. Marked by a teacher

    Poetry from other cultures

    3 star(s)

    He began to write poems at the age of sixteen and many were published in the school magazine. In the 1970's he moved to England where he not only progressed to become a literary poet but also moved on to develop into a performing poet. From there, he has travelled significantly performing his consequential poetry. In his poem 'Half-Caste', Agard has accepted the fact that he is half-caste but he is very concerned about the term. He uses various everyday objects and famous people to aid him in giving his views about the term. 'Half-Caste' is an interesting title to use.

    • Word count: 1300
  5. Marked by a teacher

    How are anger and frustration presented in 'Nothing's Changed' and 'Half-Caste'?

    3 star(s)

    Here is an example that shows how racism is shown "Yu mean when Picasso mix red and green". He talks about the colours and how they combine together to produce a new whole, which is different. But the whole he talks about is precious and unique. People call him half-caste because he is different from other people and lacks equality because he is different from the rest, this is racist. John Agard shows anger because he doesn't want people to insult him. I can tell this by the tone of the poem because he asks the same question over and over again. "Wha yu mean when yu say half-caste". I would say this seems like he is annoyed.

    • Word count: 1410
  6. Marked by a teacher

    'Half-caste' and 'Unrelated Incident' are both written in varieties of non-standard English - What does this contribute to each poem?

    3 star(s)

    The two poems are very similar because although they are written by people from completely different places, they feel discriminated against because of their accents. In both poems phonetic spellings are used to emphasize the point the poet is trying to make. By using the kind of dialect they speak instead of the proper written language they are trying to show why people think of them differently. In a way they are ridiculing these people because they obviously know how to write properly and are merely using the phonetic spelling to help prove and accentuate the point they are trying to make.

    • Word count: 913
  7. Marked by a teacher

    Poems from different cultures - Half Caste, by John Agard.

    3 star(s)

    In Half Caste, by John Agard, the difficult situation is one of prejudice. The writer is expressing his dislike of the prejudice he suffers because he is of mixed race or, in his words, 'half caste'. The word half-caste is shown to be the culprit in this poem and the entire poem ridicules the word and those who use it. The writer uses various strategies to achieve this goal. In the first paragraph the writer immediately draws the reader's attention with an apology, "excuse me," he says. This draws the reader's attention because it is a very abrupt way of starting a poem and the reader continues to read to see what he is fact sorry for.

    • Word count: 747
  8. Marked by a teacher

    Half-Caste by John Agard - How effective is the light-hearted ridicule in this poem?

    It may seem like a ridiculous idea that he should stand on one leg but it does show how stupid the idea that someone can only stand on one leg because he is off mixed race. The poem then goes into a West Indian accent and it then makes another example like mixing colours makes him a half-caste. It then says 'explain yuself' again as it did at the start of the verse, this is repeated many times through the poem and becomes a sort of chorus.

    • Word count: 793
  9. Marked by a teacher

    Poetry from other cultures - a study of 'Search for my tongue', 'Half-caste' and 'Presents from my aunts in Pakistan'.

    problem nowadays, but years ago people from other countries were treated second class because of their skin colour, the poem's have similar problems that we have just gone over with you. 'Search for my tongue' by Sujata Bhatt, is about an indian girl, who moved to England and had to learn a new language that she, while trying to forget her 'Mother tongue' which is her original language.She calls the new language that she has to learn, her 'foreign tonogue', these are called symbolic qualities.You can tell in this poem that she is confused, for example, 'If you had two

    • Word count: 1134
  10. Peer reviewed

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

    4 star(s)

    Words such as, 'bashing' and 'slashing' are also used by Agard which suggest him being very threatening. The reason that Agard creates all these violent images is because he wants us to know that he's a peaceful man, but he can be very dangerous if people think that English has to be spoken in a particular way. Unlike 'Listen Mr. Oxford Don', in 'Half Caste' Agard concentrates more on using imagery to make his point. An example of imagery used by Agard, "when yu say half-caste yu mean tchaikovsky mix a black key wid a white key?"

    • Word count: 1289
  11. Peer reviewed

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

    4 star(s)

    The poet aims to get across a fable with a deep moral in it. The background of this poem is based on the violence used by the state authorities against the people of Nigeria. The intention of Agard is to challenge and confront those who racially discriminate others and us as unconventional humans, "explain yu self wha yu mean" this line depicts Agard's frustration towards racism and demands answers- leaving the reader guilt felt in order to make them empathise. On the other hand, Osundare creates a picture in the reader's mind of what is on-looked by the narrator who is only concerned about his own survival, "So long they don't take the yam from my savouring mouth".

    • Word count: 1179
  12. Peer reviewed

    How the poets create and use a metaphor in 'This room'. Compare this to one or more poems are also use metaphors

    3 star(s)

    For example, line six, 'The bed is lifting out of Its nightmares' This quotation shows how the poet feels that he is starting a new chapter in his life and therefore all about things before have been pushed aside. The poet also tries to use this line to portray that he is beginning a new phase in his life. This is again about identity and how he fears his old identity but wants to form a new identity.

    • Word count: 554
  13. Peer reviewed

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

    3 star(s)

    She tells us this by saying "If you had two tongues inside your mouth and you lost the first one, the mother tongue..." This can be found from line 4. The quote tells us she is forgetting her other language (or her other tongue) and so her importance of identity comes from her language. In English speaking, we sometimes use the word 'tongue' to mean 'language' as well as your actual 'tongue'. The poet compares the ability to speak two languages to having two tongues in your mouth, which she calls 'the mother tongue' (which is the original language)

    • Word count: 882
  14. Half caste. Half-Caste This fantastic poem is mainly about how John Agard feels about people using the phrase half caste.

    He also makes us think about what it must be like to be a half caste in a culture like ours today. There are two means by which the poet helps to create a shape or structure in this poem.

    • Word count: 341
  15. English coursework

    We put everything in the cab and I checked one last time to see if I have everything. We arrived at the airport with not a minute to spare. We ran to the counter and checked in. As we were boarding the plane we got the flight information. On the plane it seemed like months and months but it only took us 8 hours to arrive there. All my family and cousins were waiting there patiently for us to come out.

    • Word count: 439
  16. Halfcast and Unrelated incidents

    "Half-Caste", in my perspective, is about how differently people are treated for being a mixture, Agard describes how wrong it is, using metaphors in his rhetorical questions emphasizing that many things in this world are created using a mixture of things, but they are treated equally yet we treat each other according to our skin colour. However, in a different perspective, "Half-Caste" could further be about contradicting its readers into awareness that everything is Half-Caste, "Picasso", a famous artist, was used with contrasting colours, "mix red an green" to show that even the famous are not a whole of something.

    • Word count: 1662
  17. Comparing Poems

    He has a shackle on his legs, binding them painfully together. His body is soaking wet and bloody, showing how desperate he is and how little he has to lose. They can do no more to him; he has suffered eternally at their toil and will endure it no more, he won't go back. The tension mounts as Pip pleads with the convict who lividly demands to know his name and where he lives. The convict flips the helpless Pip upside down, emptying his already strained pockets, he finds bread, which he swiftly finishes.

    • Word count: 1176
  18. Compare and Contrast Search for my tongue and Half caste.

    By standing on one leg he is being sarcastic and mocking, he is suggesting this stance is because he is half caste and therefore only half a person and half a class. He finds the word "caste" insulting but "half caste even more so. The poet suggests that it is only the audience who thinks he is only half a man. The poet is abrupt and angry at intolerant people, he informs the audience by acting and talking to them and by adding a visual image he makes them laugh.

    • Word count: 2135
  19. Comparing Poems From Other Cultures

    It also shows how people don't understand how she feels or understand what she is going through with her struggle with the two languages that she uses. For it says: "You ask me what I mean by saying I have lost my tongue." This shows that she feels isolated from others as they do not understand the internal struggle she is going through having to lose her original identity - her mother tongue - to a new identity, a foreign tongue.

    • Word count: 1140
  20. Of mice and men

    "Search for my tongue" a heart touching poem by Sujata Bhatt, a poem which reveals her frozen tongue. The tongue which she has lost and trying find it back. Sujata is in a situation where she wants to speak her mother tongue... but she can't. In Sujata's interpretation she tells us that her mother tongue is almost dead and rotten in her mouth and I get this information via the first stanza on the eleventh, twelfth and thirteenth lines where Sujata quotes "And if you lived in a place where you had to speak a foreign tongue, your mother tongue would rot, rot and die in your mouth."

    • Word count: 1350
  21. Difference between poems

    The first line is very polite but immediately after the poet is acquiring the 'reader' of suggesting he is half a man by using the words 'half-caste'. He uses informal language throughout the poem, the language is also written in john Agard's dialect. It makes you say the words how it sounds. This could be the poet celebrating his culture. 'Explain yuself, Wha yu mean' This also makes you as the reader feel the anger, annoyance and sadness through the Agards tone.

    • Word count: 865
  22. Diverse Culture essay

    Many of the lines are very short; consisting of only two or three words these short lines might symbolise Agard's short temper. This makes the poem quite jarring and gives the impression of someone speaking. Likewise "Search for my Tongue" has an irregular structure; this is emphasized in the second stanza when the language changes from English to Gujarati, which is Bhatt's native language. Similarly to "half caste" many of the lines are short; this makes the poem storey like and gives the impression of someone speaking.

    • Word count: 1271
  23. Comparing John Agard

    The describes the surroundings very well and puts this image in your mind.' Amiable weeds'. This is a quick summery of the ground because you start to see and build up an image of the surroundings. The language shown in the two poems Nothings changed and half-caste are effective because both poems try to make a point. John agard and tuamkhulu Africa use the same type of language, which is anger and expression. Nothings changed uses descriptive language, which makes the reader really think and sink in onto how the reader feels. 'Hand burn for a stone, a bomb'.

    • Word count: 1227
  24. Comparing Poems

    It is an aggressive confrontation between the reader and the poet that elicits an answer from the reader. 'Nothing's Changed' is written formally so that the poet can express a controlled anger. Segregation is used to show the separate identities of blacks and whites. It is set out in 7 stanzas. The formal punctuation and structure is very organised which makes the poem seem like a story. Language is used to a dramatic effect in both poems, it reveals the poet's ideas about identity. Firstly, in 'Half-Caste' there is a pun of the half-caste weather, 'yu mean when light an shadow/mix in de sky/is a half-caste weather/', this play on words mocks the phrase 'half-caste' which emphasises the poets feelings about a half-caste identity.

    • Word count: 878
  25. Poem Comparison-Half Caste and I am not that Woman

    Therefore, the poet is reasoning that he shouldn't be discriminated against when there are lots of things that are mixed that the whites view in high esteem. He is asking why they aren't treated in the same unfair way as he is. This could also have an ironic side, as he is pointing out that the whites are so prejudiced against mixed race people and yet some of the things that they hold in the very highest esteem are mixed colours.

    • Word count: 2558

Conclusion analysis

Good conclusions usually refer back to the question or title and address it directly - for example by using key words from the title.
How well do you think these conclusions address the title or question? Answering these questions should help you find out.

  1. Do they use key words from the title or question?
  2. Do they answer the question directly?
  3. Can you work out the question or title just by reading the conclusion?
  • I have chosen Half-Caste and Nothing's Changed because both discuss the issue of racism.

    "In conclusion both Half-Caste and Nothing's Changed has very serious issues in which they write about. Both being from the party in which are being attacked. Being from different time periods makes it slightly diverse. Tatamkhulu has been influenced by his culture and background in the way that there were only non-whites and whites in that particular area. Taking that into consideration most non-whites would have despised all whites thinking all of them would be against them so the anger in his poem would explain that. Whereas John's culture and background does have some bearing on his opinion but he in fact knows that not everyone would think of him as half a person to another human being or any other mixed race individual."

  • How the poets create and use a metaphor in 'This room'. Compare this to one or more poems are also use metaphors

    "In conclusion 'This Room' starts off showing the feelings of being trapped and having no opportunities on the horizon however suddenly it become resolved and new beginnings are present. 'Half Caste' show annoyance to the treatment of the poet however it ends by turning the tables on the audience saying, 'come back with the whole or yourself, this shows that the audience are not perfect. Finally there are very few differences between the poems, 'This Room' and 'Half Caste' because the use of metaphors is so greatly used in each poem therefore there is nothing substantial to differentiate."

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