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GCSE: Sujata Bhatt: from Search For My Tongue
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- Peer Reviewed essays 5
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
'You mean when light an shadow Mix in de sky' However having a mixed cultural background could be an advantage because if you lived in one culture, and moved to the other you wouldn't forget parts of the other as quickly as you would then if you only had one culture because you would be used to having two in your life. This is a way in which the poems are linked in with each other because search for my tongue shows that it is easy to forget a part of your culture and half-caste tries to show that having two cultures is not a disadvantage.
- Word count: 879
The poem 'Search for my Tongue' starts off in the past tense but later converts into the present, towards the end of the poem. Secondly, it soon becomes aware to me that, whilst comparing both poems, the poets have used their work to portray their emotional status' in response to almost possessing dual cultures. In 'Presents from my Aunt in Pakistan', Alvi concentrates on cultural dislocation, which is unquestionably the poets feelings about her ethnic background. From quotes such as 'half-english', 'Marks & Spencer's' and 'salwar kameez didn't impress the schoolfriend', I begin to picture that she is caught in the middle of fashion and popularity in England and her original, cultural traditions.
- Word count: 961
However, by the end of the poem she seems to have built up confidence and she makes it clear that she is fed up of working hard, like when she says 'you can bake your bread and make your bed and answer your own front door.' She states that she is never coming back by saying 'But now you're on your own, my dear. I won't be there anymore.' I think the purpose of this purpose is to show that servants have feelings and that they are not just people that should be ordered around.
- Word count: 762
Explore the poets search for identity in 'Search For My Tongue', 'Unrelated Incidents', and 'Half-Caste'.
She sends a message of being alienated without her mother tongue, almost like being orphaned to her second tongue because she feels as if she has been rebounded onto it. She uses any metaphors to express her feelings and emotions about getting her mother tongue back; 'it grows back, a stump of a shoot, grows longer, grows moist, grows stronger veins, it ties the other tongue in knots, the bud opens, the bud opens in my mouth.' This is about the native tongue of hers coming back to her blossoming like a flower, by the end of the poem her
- Word count: 915
She explains these ideas in Gujarati. 3. She then translates her thoughts for us in English (so line 31-38 mean something similar to lines 17-30), showing that although her mother tongue dies during the day, it grows back in her dreams at night, becoming strong and producing blossoms. Try reading it aloud. Each line of Gujarati script is followed by a phonetic English version in brackets, so even if you don't know any Gujarati, you can still have a go.
- Word count: 887
It also reflects how she feels about her own identity. Contrastingly, in 'Island Man' Nichols uses a wide range of contrasting colours to show culture. In the poem the colour "emerald" is used to describe the island and the word "grey" to describe London. This contrast in colours builds up a contrast between the two islands. The Islands colours are bright and intense, to show the beauty of the place. By using dull colours to describe London the reader believes that the Island Man would be more contented in his own culture.
- Word count: 767
She also tried to think and dream both languages at the same time but she couldn't. She has dreamt in Gujarati and transliterated into English. At the end of the poem her feelings changes a bit because she describes over the night her confidence grows back even stronger than before, but while she dreams it grows back, stump of a shoot grows longer, grows moist, grows strong veins, it tries the other tongue in knots. This means she highlights the difficulties being part of two cultures.
- Word count: 619
and in 'Presents from my Aunts in Pakistan' when the poet says 'My costume clung to me and I was aflame' (Lines 22-23). These sentences show suffering, in 'Search for my tongue' the suffering is when the person in the poem can't decide what tongue, or language she should be using and she is suffering as she is trapped between two different choices and does not know which one to choose. In 'Presents from my Aunts in Pakistan' the girl in the poem feels as if the costume that she is wearing from her original culture is setting her on fire as she is not used to it and does not feel comfortable in it.
- Word count: 650
Compare the Ways that Culture & Identity are Presented in from 'Search for my Tongue' and from 'Unrelated Incidents'.
Search for my Tongue is talking to the reader. Both poems are very different on the content and what it is about. Unrelated Incidents is very much about if it was read in Standard English that wouldn't be taken seriously "Lik wanna yoo scruff". Also it is putting across that this is just what the BBC newsreaders are rejecting today. If it was re-written in Standard English it wouldn't carry the same "Trooth" because it would be just someone talking normally on the news.
- Word count: 610
Compare two poems from different cultures and traditions, "Search for my tongue" by Sujata Bhatt and "Presents from my aunts in Pakistan" by Moniza Alvi.
She is feeling sad and ashamed that she has forgotten who she is. Sujata Bhatt talks to you and continues to ask you questions through the first stanza: "I ask you what would you do If you had two tongues in your mouth" This involves the reader and makes him/her think about Sujata's predicament. "Presents from my aunt in Pakistan" is about a half Pakistani half English girl who is almost an outcast in both societies, as she cannot release her Pakistani side in England and vice versa. She will always be frowned upon by Pakistanis for being half English and vice versa.
- Word count: 794