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

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Half-Caste by John Agard How effective is the light-hearted ridicule in this poem? In the poem Half-Caste by John Agard the poet uses ridicule to put his point across, he uses this technique very effectively and many times and by the end of the poem you realise how stupid the fact of someone being a Half Caste is. The poem is about a man from the West Indies and is called Half Caste, which means of mixed race. The poem starts off with a verse off three lines all written in Standard English. Even in this very short part we can see the way the poet is using ridicule when he says 'standing on one leg', this is inferring that because he is a 'half-caste' he is only standing on one leg and that only one half the white half of him means anything to most people. ...read more.


We all know the joke about English weather being bad and traditionally always cloudy and rainy. When we say that the weather is half-caste we are really saying it is not as good as it should be, do we also mean this when we call a person of mixed race a 'half caste'. That line has double intentions as well as saying about English weather not being very good it also questions our thoughts on people of mixed race and whether we look down on them. The poet then uses light hearted ridicule again when he says about Tchaikovsky using the black and white key on a piano this is saying that he is not half caste but what about someone who only uses white keys does that make them a racist. This shows how stupid it is that some people judge people by the colour of their skin or where they are from. ...read more.


The start of the verse says I'm sure you'll understand this could be taken two ways, firstly trying to say that we should all treat mixed raced people better even if sometimes we don't realise we are being racist, but secondly it could be very sarcastic saying I'm sure you'll understand how they feel. When he is just saying that we are the ones who make it like that for them and we have no intention of changing. The message of the poem is that we are all brothers in a global world and by using the ridicule the poem shows us that we should stop being so pathetic by treating people differently, we are all equal and all deserve the same opportunity to life what we do with it is up to us. A half-caste is not inferior and people should not have to apologise for it. People should be judged on the way they behave not the way they look or where they are from. ...read more.

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Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

** 2 stars.

This essay has the potential to be a very good essay as there are some thoughtful comments and the writer has clearly understood the poem and the writer's message.
However PEE (Point, Evidence and Explanation) is only used in some places and the essay suffers from not including enough quotes to support the statements.
More literary and linguistic terminology needs to be used.

Marked by teacher Katie Dixon 10/05/2013

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