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"Feeling "whole" and comfortable with who we are important to us all. Discuss and compare how poets from other cultures explore this in their poems

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GCSE -English poetry Aruna Bhalla "Feeling "whole" and comfortable with who we are important to us all. Discuss and compare how poets from other cultures explore this in their poems." Everybody needs a sense of belonging. That is who they are, where they come from, and who they belong to. A person without an identity does not exist, it's as if they are in no mans land, neither here or there. Culture is the main ingredient in the recipe of an identity, to spice up an identity you can add heritage, a name, traditions, emotions, tastes, and genes. As the DNA in each identity is different every identity in a person is unique, and individual. As we all know, no two people are the same. I will be discussing two poems in this essay, the first being a poem written by John Agard called "Half Caste." Agard was born on the 21st of June in 1949. He moved from Guyana to England in 1977. Like many people in the Caribbean Agard is mixed race. His mother is Portuguese and his father is black. Agard loves living in England: "The diversity of cultures here is very exciting.' However there is one thing he does not like, and that is the racial origin views. He dislikes the word "Half Caste" which is used to describe a person of a mixed race. This term is still used by many today, and is now considered as rude and insulting. This might have led John Agard to write the poem "Half Caste" to express his views and opinions on this offensive expression. The second poem I will be discussing and comparing is written by Sujata Bhatt called "Search for My Tongue". She was born in 1956. Sujata was born in the Indian state of Gujarat. She moved to the United States where she learnt English. Now she lives in Germany. Sujata wrote this poem as she was afraid she might lose her original language whilst studying in America. ...read more.


Flowers are attractive, and colourful, and connate happiness and new beginnings. Sujata is explaining that her tongue "blossoms" out of her mouth, like a flower, opening up. I felt this was an effective, positive image to use. It was a positive end to the poem; this quote gave the reader a definite ending, unlike Agard who leaves an "open ending," with questions unanswered. Throughout Agard's poem certain phrases were repeated for example "Explain yuself" is the opening phrase to most stanzas in the poem. Agard repeatedly uses this phrase right up until the end of the poem. Another word that is continually repeated is "half." I think by using this repetition Agard is attempting to force the reader to question their thoughts into "Half Caste." By constantly repeating words in his poem Agard is bullying the reader into a corner, it's as if he is hammering his thoughts into their heads. Repetition has successfully helped Agard to keep his argument alive and strengthens his point and opinions on the term "Half Caste." This is different when we compare Sujata's poem. She decides not to use repetition or anger to emphasize her argument; instead she sticks to formal, language, to convey her emotions. I noticed that unlike Agard who wants the reader to constantly question themselves," wha yu mean" she wants the readers to listen and to understand how difficult it is for her to cope with two "tongues." Unlike Sujata, Agard has decided not to use Standard English. Instead he writes in a Caribbean dialect, for example "yu". I think Agard has done this simply to show off his culture and identity to the reader. He is proud of where he has come from and the language that is spoken. To me it shows Agard is speaking from the heart, which I think is important and had an impact on me, as the reader. ...read more.


here he is simply expressing his anger and emotions of being labelled "half." This is similar to Sujata's poem as she is too proud of her culture, even though she feels she has to keep it hidden, and may not be able to use it as much as she would like to. By writing parts of her poem in her "mother" language she is showing off her culture. Towards the end of the poem she expresses her views on her "tongue." That is everytime she feels her "mother tongue" is lost it "blossoms" out of her mouth. Here we could argue that she is not embarrasses but in fact proud of her culture when writing in her "mother tongue," this could evoke that she is more comfortable in herself. Unlike Agard who never really shows any sign of comfort in his poem. Identity is very important to both poets, after reading both poems, I noticed they emphasized on just how much feeling "whole" meant to them. Agard sees himself as a whole, but he feels other people refer to him as "half," so basically he feels he has not been given a full identity. Sujata dislikes having to keep her "mother tongue" and feels she is keeping a slice of her identity hidden. Going back to the essay title "Feeling whole is important to us all." Therefore Agard and Sujata have every right to argue and defend their rights. They have both successfully expressed their feelings and emotions on how important it is to feel "whole." Both poets have asked the reader into different ways to step into their lives. Agard did this by hammering his thoughts and pushing arguments. Sujata achieved this by using a more subtle and calmer approach. Personally I felt Agard made a greater impact on me, his arguments were clear and concise, and effectively kept me (the reader) on my toes. Overall I felt both poems effectively portrayed the poets' emotions, with successful images and emotive language. By Aruna Bhalla...x ...read more.

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