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How do the poets of Half-Caste and Not my Business talk about discrimination?

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How do the poets of 'Half-Caste' and 'Not my Business' talk about discrimination? Our thoughts are unseen hands shaping the people we meet. Whatever we truly think them to be, that's what they'll become in our eyes. Discrimination is the locks on the door to wisdom, two poems which enlighten us about the issues of discrimination are, 'Half-Caste' and 'Not my Business'. Agard states that those who discriminate others because of who they are, will only receive half or no respect at all, "I'm sure you'll understand, why I offer yu half-a-hand". This line reveals Agard's frustration as he refuses to respect those who have stereotypes; he aims to put across to the reader that any kind of discrimination is wrong. In the same way, Osundare protests against complacency. In this poem the narrator witnesses three catastrophic events based on discrimination in which he does not choose to act upon, "So long they don't take the yam from my savouring mouth". The poet aims to get across a fable with a deep moral in it. ...read more.


This example is perhaps even more potent, since the black and white keys are used as metaphors referring to black and white people. It is obvious that a composer would use both black and white keys of a piano: nobody would question such a thing, so Agard argues that people of mixed nationality, having one black parent and one white parent, should be accepted in the same way that Tchaikovsky's music is. Conversely, In the poem 'Not My Business' the poet doesn't comment so much on injustice, he is waiting for it to happen to him. The poem begins with violent verbs such as "beat", "stuffed". This instantly conveys to the reader that the message of the poem has something to do with violence and injustice. These brutal verbs portray to the reader vivid images of the brutality triggered in the tragic events: causing them to empathise with the poet. The poet's use of personification and metaphors to create the thought of being "stuffed" into "the belly of a waiting jeep" illustrates an idea that the jeep is a machine or monster- which obviously has no feelings. ...read more.


the first stanza is said in an ironic tone, it's very obvious to the reader he isn't standing on one leg but does this to mock those who have strong stereotype. He objects to being called half a human being, and asserts that there is much more to him than we realise. Likewise, The title 'Not My Business' is ironic as in the end all that has gone on that "isn't his business" eventually happens to him and so becomes his business. The final stanza creates a moment of suspense, "Waiting, waiting in its usual silence." This frightens the reader causing them to contemplation of what could have happened to the apathetic narrator- as they now know that no one will be there to help him. Osundare makes the reader reflect deeply on what could have happened to all the victims and the carefree narrator. The poem has been structured in the style of a ballad or a song: to resemble the teaching of a moral from a ballad or song. Equally, both Agard and Osundare demand that readers look, "wid de whole of yu eye" and understand that they must prioritise helping others in order to stand up for our justice; instead of worrying about their, "savouring mouth". ...read more.

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Response to the question

This is an exceptional piece of work, it goes into a suitable depth and is engaging. The candidate clearly answers the set question and does so with flair. S/he goes into a suitable depth and the essay is interesting to ...

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Response to the question

This is an exceptional piece of work, it goes into a suitable depth and is engaging. The candidate clearly answers the set question and does so with flair. S/he goes into a suitable depth and the essay is interesting to read. I do feel that this would flow better if the candidate changed the layout so that they discussed all the points from one poem followed by all the points of the next, jumping between to two can make the essay hard to follow.

Level of analysis

The candidate chooses suitable quotations and goes into a sufficient level of analysis to back up their ideas. S/he manages to talk about the poets feelings and the moral within ‘Not my business’ which is that you shouldn’t ignore abuse because one day it might happen to you too. We should stand up and fight against oppressive regimes. The candidate has also clearly understood the attitude of John Agard’s poem ‘half-caste’ and how he is mocking those that discriminate against others. In addition the candidate appropriately discusses linguistic terms such as the use of metaphors, which is expected form an A grade student. My only qualm would be that the conclusion could be stronger, I would like to see the candidates personal opinions coming though as well as a summary of their key points and ideas.

Quality of writing

This is a fantastic example of a high quality essay, it is fluent, the candidate has used a good range of vocabulary and there are no issues with spelling or grammar.

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Reviewed by PicturePerfect 25/02/2012

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