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GCSE: Sujata Bhatt: from Search For My Tongue

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  • Peer Reviewed essays 5
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  1. Peer reviewed

    The poem Search for my Tongue, written by Indian born author Sajata Bhatt, is about a girl who is worried she is forgetting her mother tongue.

    4 star(s)

    This could be because she is frustrated with herself for not practicing the Indian language, and therefore feeling like she has forgotten it. However, at the end of the poem, the girl realises that she dreams in Indian, and so has not lost her mother tongue: "the bud opens, the bud opens in my mouth". She is full of joy, and is much more confident. This time she uses happier words, like "blossoms". With all these different emotions, I think the poet is trying to get the reader to feel the confusion the girl is going through.

    • Word count: 702
  2. Peer reviewed

    In both Search for my Tongue by Sujata Bhatt and Half Caste by John Agard strong imagery is used to present ideas and feelings, mainly those of identity.

    4 star(s)

    In contrast, the third stanza of this poem is very positive. Imagery like "the bud opens in my mouth" is used to represent that her first language is re-growing and blossoming within her. The persona realises that no matter where she lives or what language she speaks, her identity will always remain the same. Metaphors are used differently in Half Caste; Agard uses imagery of mixed things and shows them as beautiful while comparing them to mixed race people "half-caste canvas".

    • Word count: 729
  3. Peer reviewed

    How does Sujata Bhatt show that identity is important in Serch for my tongue? Compare the methods she uses with another poet uses to show that identity is important in one other poem.

    3 star(s)

    For this reason I think her poem should be read mournfully, because there is a feeling of loss of herself and who she is. Whereas in Tom Leonard's poem, "Unrelated incidents" he explains the difference in his Scottish accent and the traditional BBC news reader voice. This poem is in a phonic form to show how the words should be pronounced in a Scottish accent, I believe this is to add to effect of his accent and strange adaptation to the standard English, he uses very little punctuation and has shaped the poem to an unusual shape, alike the abnormal accent of the narrator of this poem.

    • Word count: 1042
  4. Peer reviewed

    Comparison of Search for my tongue by Sujata Bhatt and Unrelated incidents by Tom Leonard.

    3 star(s)

    What I have interpreted of it was that the six o'clock news was being read out in slang terms. This creates a distinct identity because of the use of slang words. What the author of this poem is trying to depict is that we can't tell the news in a street slang manner and be believed. It doesn't matter how you portray the language it is what you say. Search for my tongue uses very poetic language throughout the poem especially in lines 31-38, where it uses a lot of metaphors. The author engages the reader by asking a rhetorical question: "I ask you, what you would do, if you had two tongues in your mouth, and lost the first one, the mother tongue, and could not really know the other, the foreign tongue."

    • Word count: 588
  5. Muliebrity- Sujata Bhatt. The writer seems unwilling to let go to the memory of this girl and that unwillingness is portrayed in several ways throughout the poem.

    Firstly you notice the free verse format of the poem. This makes the poem flow, like a memory and shows the poet is unwilling to compromise her memory or ides of the girl in order to conform to a more 'poetic' structure. She wants to keep her memory intact. By constantly repeating 'I have thought so much' Bhatt is emphasizing that she thinks the girl constantly and the memory of her seems like a precious treasure to the poet.

    • Word count: 360
  6. Show How The Poets Sense Of Cultural Identities Is Explored In Two Of The Poems You Have Studied

    In an interview, she says:" I have always thought of myself as an Indian who is outside India." Her mother tongue is for her an important link to her family, and to her childhood: "That's the deepest layer of my identity." Moniza Alvi was born in Lahore in Pakistan, the daughter of a Pakistani father and an English mother. She moved to Hatfield in England when she was a few months old. She didn't revisit Pakistan until after the publication of her first book of poems "The Country over my Shoulder" from which this poem comes.

    • Word count: 1315
  7. Comparing ""Search for my tongue" and "Unrelated incidents"

    The poet has expressed confusion through the Denranagari script in the middle of the poem. Here, the reader is confused as to why this language is written. The reader is put in the poets shoes and feels the poets' emotions. This relates to the two different cultures in the poem; Bhatt also shows that language is a part of her, "it blossoms out of my mouth" The tongue is described as a flower that has always been there. The metaphor signifies that the "mother tongue" is strong, as it is just as essential as the other "foreign tongue" Furthermore the identity of the poet is expressed through language.

    • Word count: 1016
  8. For many poets, English is a second language. Many poets feel trapped between two cultures. Choose 3 poems we have studied which show this.

    Her feelings towards her roots are strong and in the last few lines of the play we see how deep her roots go. The poem describes how her new language has starved her old one and how she strives to be able to speak as fluently as before. She seems to almost feel hate towards the new language that has starved her much loved mother tongue. She uses blunt sensual expressions to describe her emotional turmoil which shows how much her mother tongue means to her.

    • Word count: 1323
  9. Poems from other cultures

    Although her 'mother tongue' dies during the day, it 'grows back' in her dreams at night. When she is asleep in her dream she starts to speak the mother tongue written in Gujerati with the transliteration of the English language then repeats the Gujerati in English, she does this because she has two languages so she has to uses both of these, it also makes it more difficult for us to read it therefore communicating her difficulty of learning a new language. Sujata Bhatt uses a semantic field using imagery of plants describing as if the language was growing back 'It grows back, a stump of a shoot, grows longer, grows moist, grows stronger veins' all which are related to plants, the plant represents the tongue pushing out the other tongue killing off her existing language.

    • Word count: 957
  10. 'Hurricane Hits England' and 'Search For My Tongue' comparison

    This opens a close relationship between the reader and the character. Also this indicates to the reader that the character is confused, as the character opens an opportunity to answer the question that was never asked. Enjambment indicates growing frustration particularly in the next few lines of the poem, possibly because people don't understand her, even though she speaks a language she learnt so people would understand. She then continues in the poem by directly laying the dilemma before them, and demanding what they would do. This opening proves to be striking, because it allows the reader to investigate for themselves the problems she has faced or is facing.

    • Word count: 746
  11. Comparing Poems

    In Hurricane Hits England the poet says 'I have lost my mother tongue'. In Hurricane Hits England the poet says 'my sweeping back home cousin' the unusual weather in Britain makes the poet feel like she is back in the Caribbean. Both poets feel they have lost something which is very important to them, both feel that they have change to fit in the society they are now living in. For example Search For My Tongue the poet feels she has lost an important part of her culture, we see this in lines 36 - 38 she writes, 'Every time I think I've forgotten, I think I've lost my mother tongue, it

    • Word count: 596
  12. culture identity

    She is also trying to get rid of the foreign language as she described it as "spit". The word spit creates an image of someone trying to get rid of something ugly in their mouth. Then again in the last part of the poem she is feeling glad and back to being natural because her mother tongue grew back in the night. I know this because she quotes " it pushes the other tongue aside" this line is effective because it makes me feel that she is joyful of getting the chance to speak her language other than the foreign language.

    • Word count: 970
  13. Compare Presents from my Aunts in Pakistan to Search for my tongue

    Moniza Alvi marvels at how pretty her clothes are from Pakistan by describing them vibrantly with colours such as 'peacock blue' and 'apple-green.' The reader gets the impression that the girl is not comfortable with her home in England but she thinks that she won't be comfortable living in Pakistan either. We know this as she says she has 'no fixed nationality.' We can easily see that she doesn't know where she belongs. The bright colours of the salwar kameez suggest the familiar idea of exotic clothes worn by Asian women, but the glass bangle which snaps and draws blood is almost a representation of how her tradition harms the poet.

    • Word count: 793
  14. Search for my toungue by Sasha Bhatt

    you do if you had two cultures and couldn't understand the foreign one "I ask you, what you would do if you had two tongues in your mouth". She further mentions the idea of tongues, and asks what the person would do if he/she had to languages, and lost their native language, their mother tongue, and was forced to know, live and speak the foreign tongue.

    • Word count: 522
  15. Anaylis of Search for my Tongue

    This shows a very sharp contrast between the two languages the person speaks. We associate "foreign" with something very different and strange, which is what the new language is to her, where as a "mother" is probably the most familiar thing to the majority of people. This really shows the strangeness of speaking a new language. It then moves on to say that "if you lived in a place where you had to speak a foreign tongue- -your mother tongue would rot." The language used here is all very direct and short, "rot, spit, night, thought."

    • Word count: 976
  16. Compare how identity is shown to be important in 'Half-caste' and 'In search for my tongue'

    Identity is important; in "Half-caste" essentially it's using the idea of race as a wide metaphor. So challenging attitudes that are prejudiced towards half castes by ridiculing and questioning this through a poetic structure which both mocks stereotypes of the way foreigners speak as well as questioning whether many things which are mixed are any worse because of it. Essentially it's suggesting a duality to nature and to life, which is prevalent in a great deal of poetry like that of William Blake's. The poet uses phonetic language to express the mans pride for his identity and refuses to back down and conform to the stereotypical (average)

    • Word count: 615
  17. How does the poet express the difficulties of being in a minority

    When Bhatt says 'what would you do' it suggests a level of detachment as does the absence of imagery in the opening lines. The tone is quite negative and quite depressing. She sounds as if she is in despair. Towards the middle of the poem she uses Gujarati to show us her 'mother tongue' and emphasise its great difference from English. In the last part of the poem Bhatt uses metaphorical language, which is more poetic than previously in the poem and very different to the conversational language at the start for example, she uses the metaphor of her mother tongue growing back as a flower.

    • Word count: 888
  18. Not My Business is written by Niyi Osundare a Nigerian man whose first language or mother tongue is English. In my perspective, the basic plot of the poem portrays the struggles of living in a country where the dictating government

    The Jeep was waiting on my bewildered lawn Waiting, waiting in its usual silence. Niyi Osundare Stephen (subject): Not My Business is written by Niyi Osundare a Nigerian man whose first language or mother tongue is English. In my perspective, the basic plot of the poem portrays the struggles of living in a country where the dictating government unfairly persecute those who don't support them. The evidence to support this is the fact that the kidnappers seem to use a jeep, which could be associated with the army, also the poet refers to them as 'they' which makes them seem a large powerful group.

    • Word count: 1104
  19. Comparing 'Search for my tongue' with 'Presents from my aunt in Pakistan' Search for my tongue and Presents from my aunt in Pakistan are two poems that explore

    In the first stanza the beautiful clothing and strong visual continue but this beauty also has a dangerous side because the bangles she receives snap and cut her giving a slight sense of confusion which builds up slowly throughout the poem. In stanza two it is obvious that the clothing is not what she wants. She fells that it doesn't suit her that it is gorgeous but also to simple for instance 'alien in the sitting in the room' (line 17).

    • Word count: 1358
  20. When making a comparison between the two poems, 'Search For My Tongue' by Sujata Bhatt and 'Ogun' by Edward Kamau Brathwaite we can see that both are primarily concerned with notions of culture and identity and in particular how one impacts

    She feels that the first will be lost or replaced by the second, which she refers to as "the foreign tongue" which you can not really know. This idea that the second tongue is one that 'you could not really know', implies further that language is about more than words, but that it encompasses a whole range of meanings connected with the culture from which it is derived and that even though she has mastered the language, she feels as though the meanings and underlying culture will always be alien to her.

    • Word count: 1202
  21. I will compare two poems from completely different cultures to see if we get any comparisons, the poems I have chosen to write about are Half-Caste by John Agard and Search for my Tongue by Sujata Bhatt,

    But when we say 'different' cultures we are referring to the way other people live, and if we are afraid of this we must all seriously reconsider ourselves. As I have already mentioned one of the poems I will be studying is Half-Caste by John Agard. From my preliminary research I was able to find out about the author himself, I found some very interesting facts, which may or may not contribute to his love for his culture. For example, John Agard was originally from Guyana but moved to England in 1977, his mother was Portuguese but born in Guyana and his father is black.

    • Word count: 2629
  22. With close reference Search for my tongue written by Sujata Bhatt, and Still I rise by Maya Angelou both explore the effective

    It's strong, yet upbeat bouncy feel cries to be read out aloud which also reflects her powerful, independent personality. Her defiance immediately starts to shine from the first stanza. After all the negativity, "...bitter, twisted lies", "...trod me in the very dirt" she will still get up and rise against it all, not letting anyone control her. From such a negative stanza she moves on to an energetic tone in stanza three. She uses nature "Just like moons and like stars" to bring out a buoyant optimistic tone; by using the certainty of nature she is conveying the message that no one will break her and she will always be strong.

    • Word count: 1278
  23. "Search For My Tongue" and "Presents From My Aunts In Pakistan"

    The other poem "Presents" uses visual items like clothes to show the difference in cultures: "my costume clung to me I was aflame." Moniza Alvi sees her Pakistani clothes as a "costume" rather than normal clothes. She calls it this because they are so different to English clothes that when she wears them it's like she is putting on a play and she is an actress at the weekends. "I longed for denim and corduroy." Most people see Pakistani clothes as beautiful creations but she doesn't like them and would prefer to wear boring English clothes such as jeans.

    • Word count: 617
  24. Unrelated Incidents' by Tom Leonard and 'Search for my Tongue' by Sujata Bhatt are two poems that give people an

    When first looking at 'Unrelated Incidents' it is difficult to read because of the spellings of the words. The poem is written phonetically and not in Standard English. Tom Leonard says in line 27-30 'this is me token yir right way a spellin.' Leonard also uses colloquial which is slang he uses it in the last line with 'belt up' he does this to mock the way the news is read because of the poem being written as if it were the six clock news. This is different to 'Search for my Tongue' because Sujata Bhatt for 15 lines writes in English but then from line 16-29 writes in Gujarati which is her mother language, beneath this it also tells the reader how to read this language (which is spelt phonetically).

    • Word count: 1234
  25. Comparing Cultures and Traditions in Poetry

    Both the poems adopt irregular poetic structures to the more "traditional" way. Bhatt writes the poem "Search for my tongue" as if it were a speech, speaking to the reader and telling the reader about issues that he faces as a dialect. There are no separate verses, just one long verse split up by phonetic translation of Gujarati. Enjambment is also used to maker poem flow much easier, increasing feeling that he is talking to us. Osundare writes the poem like a native Nigerian song with a repetition of the chorus " What business it is of mine, so long as they don't take the yam from my savouring mouth".

    • Word count: 699

Conclusion analysis

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  1. Do they use key words from the title or question?
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  3. Can you work out the question or title just by reading the conclusion?

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