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

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

Extracts from this document...


'Half-caste' and 'Unrelated Incident' are both written in varieties of non-standard English. What does this contribute to each poem? In both 'Half-caste' and 'Unrelated Incident', we see that the poets feel discriminated against because of a slight difference in their colour or accent. In 'Half-caste' John Agard is purposely trying to emphasize that people think that because he is half-caste he must be inferior to them and only half of a person. He does this by repeating the word 'half' many times throughout the poem. He also goes onto mock the thought of him being 'half' of anything: 'half of mih ear...mih eye...a hand'. He then contrasts this by repeating 'de whole of' three times. In 'Unrelated Incidents', Tom Leonard is trying to show that people discriminate against him because of his different accent. He is also trying to say that because of his regional accent he is not acceptable as a new presenter because people will think he is not telling the 'trooth' and is therefore inadequate for the job. ...read more.


In 'Half-caste', John Agard misses out words from sentences and misspells words like 'dem', 'wha' and 'yu' to help show his Jamaican accent. This is also done to emphasize that because he is half-caste he must be inadequate. However, the reader knows this is not true and feels ignorant and stupid at the end because John Agard is obviously educated because he knows about Picasso and Tchaikovsky. In 'Unrelated Incident', throughout the whole of the poem phonetic spelling is used. This is done to show that the poet has a different accent and therefore cannot be a news presenter because he does not have a 'BBC accent'. Throughout the poem Tom Leonard repeats the word 'troo'/'trooth' five times just to emphasize the purpose of the poem, that he cannot tell the 'trooth' because of his different accent. By using a phonetic spelling, Leonard is ensuring that people assume that he is aggressive and immediately jump to conclusions that he must be because of his Glaswegian accent. ...read more.


By using words that the reader is unlikely to understand, the poets are making the reader feel ignorant and inadequate themselves. In 'Half-caste' John Agard uses the phrase 'de sun pass ah rass', which the reader will not understand meaning they will feel dense. Tom Leonard also does this in 'Unrelated Incidents by using phrases like 'belt up' and 'wanna yoo scruff'. This is confusing to the reader because although they will get the general idea of what the poet is trying to say, they will not understand it exactly. We can tell that both poets are using their non-standard English merely as a technique, rather than an inadequacy. This is because although the poems are not written in standard-English, the phonetical spelling is still comprehensible showing that as opposed to the reader's opinion they are still clever and equal to people who are of single race and who have a 'BBC accent'. In both poems, the use of non-standard English adds a lot to the purpose of the poems and helps accentuate the point the poet is trying to make. ...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 teacher thought of this essay

3 star(s)

*** 3 stars
This is a good essay in many ways. It is logically structured and compares the two poems well.
In places quotes are used to further support the statements.
This is a very well written essay and the points are discussed with clarity.
At times the same words are repeated too often and the essay itself loses marks because points are also

Marked by teacher Katie Dixon 10/05/2013

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

    Comparing poems 'halfe cast' and 'nothings changed'

    4 star(s)

    Here he is on the other side of the glass from were the white people are sitting. This shows that he is separated from the people. He expresses that although segregation has said to be gone, it is still there.

  2. Marked by a teacher

    How does John Agard make the poem Half-Caste seem controversial? Think about the main ...

    3 star(s)

    The features which indicate the language isn't Standard English are alternate spelling of words (which indicate how they are said); a lack of capital letters and standard punctuation; irregular use of tense ("when Picasso / mix red an green"); and the use of Afro-Caribbean terms ("ah rass").

  1. Marked by a teacher

    The poems No Problem written by Benjamin Zephania and Half-Caste written by John Aguard ...

    3 star(s)

    back tomorrow wid de whole of yu eye an de whole of yu ear an de whole of yu mind an I will tell you de other half of my story."

  2. Peer reviewed

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

    4 star(s)

    Standard English is the only form of English; there are other forms of English which are equally legitimate. In 'Half Caste', the lines throughout the poem are generally quite short, the effect of this is to make the poem go faster, and make us receive short quick messages.

  1. Homework: Comparison of Half-Caste and Six O'clock News

    He says "you wouldn't want me to talk about the truth with a voice like one of your scruffs."

  2. Why did the caste system develop and how was it perpetuated?

    The reason the caste system perpetuated so long, is because of the beliefs in Hinduism, but more so it is because of the people.

  1. Poems From Other Cultures

    Ferlinghetti goes on to questions democracy. Has it failed, because there is still an obvious gap between rich and poor? Or would it be unrealistic to expect a perfect democracy, free of class distinctions? Ferlinghetti uses repetition in his poem.

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

    By saying outrageous things like that John creates a mood. In contrast Tatamkhulu isn't humorous in 'Nothing's Changed' but in a protesting manner. Half-Caste is in a Caribbean dialect which makes it a quite fast paced poem. The rhythm is relatively exhilarating.

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