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How Does Grace Nichols Create a sense of Cultural Identity through her poetry?

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English Essay- How Does Grace Nichols Create a sense of Cultural Identity through her poetry? By James Patney 11U Grace Nichols was born in Georgetown, Guyana where she was brought up. She later moved to London. When she moved to London she felt as though she was living in an alien world and did not approve of London. Grace Nichols was longing for a cultural identity in Britain and she tends to describe Britain negatively and the Caribbean positively. Throughout Grace Nichols' poems she applies her own dialect of Creole, which is the official dialect of the Caribbean, where she originated. She also uses Creole because she feels as though she should preserve it. She maintains that the language is 'genuinely exciting' and that Creole's aspects are very vivid which concludes her to believe that there is no equivalent in the English language. The poem 'Praise Song For My Mother' is based upon memories Nichols has of her late mother from childhood and the style of the poem is simple to reflect this. The style is also based upon snapshots and a reminiscence of the Caribbean e.g. 'sunrise to me, rise warm and streaming', which is associated with the hot climate countries. The mood throughout the poem of 'Praise Song For My Mother' is very emotional and repetitive. This mood is established because the poet intends to mourn the fact that her mother has passed away. The poem is also repetitive, 'replenishing replenishing'. The poet may have opted for this because it brings a sense of childhood because as a young child would repeat a words. ...read more.


What she wrote in stanza 3 can be contrasted to her views about London. She initially complains and says 'de weather so cold' which can be clashed with the conjured picture she said in stanza 3 about the Caribbean. She also dislikes the people as they are rude to her, they do not accept different people, which can then be concluded to the fact that a place like London adopts this narrow minded attitude and will not accommodate clothes or people of bigger sizes. Overall Nichols has bad feelings concerning London and even decides to curse about the features of London in her native language. Grace Nichols repeats 'journeying, journeying' for a number of reasons. She does it because it underlines how it is a real drag for her and how she is in a constant search for accommodating clothes and also how she is searching for an identity. The quote 'lord is aggravating' is free standing from the rest of the poem because it emphasises her annoyance in the search for suitable clothing. It also shows her alienation or isolation from the salesgirls and generally, in London. After this isolated line Nichols immediately contrasts this to the Caribbean, which she has done deliberately to say how she contemplates London. Further on in the poem, Grace Nichols, the fat back woman curses in Swahili, her native language. She intends on doing this because then she is comfortable with her roots and it shows a reminiscence of her home and emphasises how angry she feels as London does not make her feel welcome. ...read more.


Nichols also may use Creole so that readers may not understand her poems and also she may want to aim her poems at a certain market. Grace Nichols also links her poems by using images of colour and vitality and comparing these with Britain. In 'Tropical death' she says how a funeral in the Caribbean would be a 'brilliant tropical death' whereas she describes a European funeral as a 'cold sojourn in some... far/forlorn. In 'the Fat Black Woman Goes Shopping' she says how the Caribbean is sunny, 'bright and billowing' whereas she complies how London is 'so cold' and narrow minded. The three poems link because they all contrast the emotional, physical and colourful aspects of the Caribbean with London. They also make the Caribbean sound much more attractive. Also in the three poems Grace Nichols relates her relationship with the Caribbean to her mother. In all three, they show how she has a strong desire towards the Caribbean hence that fact she always talks positively about the place. Grace Nichols' poems clearly show a sense of cultural identity. They show this by Nichols referring to warmth, colour, recalls to the Caribbean, use of Creole and contrasts to Europe. In Nichols' poems she also states how she adores the Caribbean, which is why she wishes to return there to be buried. They also state her feelings about London. She feels very critical about London she believes that she does not belong in London; as she cannot find the appropriate clothes and the people mock her. Therefore she feels that London does not identify or accommodate the cultural identity she is searching for. ...read more.

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