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

Other Cultures Poems

Extracts from this document...


"Is it always a positive benefit to live in two cultures at the same time?" How far do you think this is true of three poems? From the poems on the course, a reader can see that there are both negative and positive aspects of living in two different cultures. In presents from Aunts in Pakistan, the girl, who lives in England, gets clothes from her aunts, traditional Pakistani clothes. At first, the writer says "They sent me a Salwar Kameez, peacock blue, and another glistening like an orange split open", which shows that she achnologes the beauty of the clothes. However, the writer goes on to say, "I tried each satin-silken top, was alien in the sitting room." This shows that as she put the clothes on, she felt out of place in her house and she couldn't see herself in traditional Pakistani clothes like her family. She also said, In a simile, that the clothes showed her own lack of beauty: "I could never be as lovely as those clothes". ...read more.


She ends happily by saying that "Every time I think I've forgotten, I think I've lost the mother tongue, it blossoms out of my mouth." Clearly this poem is about personal and cultural identity. The familiar metaphor of the tongue is used in a way to show that losing your language and culture is like losing part of your body. The poet's dream might be something she has really dreamt "overnight" but is clearly also a "dream" in the sense of something she wants to happen - in dreams, if not in reality, it is possible for the body to regenerate. For this reason the poem's ending is uncertain, it is only in her dream that the poet can find her "mother tongue". On the other hand, she may be arguing that even when she thinks she has lost it, it can be found again. At the end of the poem there is a metaphor in which the regenerating tongue is likened to a plant cut back to a stump, which grows and eventually buds, to become the flower which "blossoms out of" the poet's mouth. ...read more.


The "white's only inn" is elegant, with linen tablecloths and a "single rose" on each table. It is contrasted with the fast-food "working man's cafe" which sells the local snack "bunny chows". There is no tablecloth, just a plastic top, and there is nowhere to wash your hands after eating, "wipe your fingers on your jeans". In the third stanza, contrast is clearly shown, the smart inn "squats" amid "grass and weeds". The most important image in the poem is that of the "glass" which shuts out the speaker in the poem. It is a symbol of the divisions of colour, and class. As he backs away from it at the end of the poem, the man sees himself as a "boy again", who has left the imprint of his "small, mean mouth" on the glass. He wants "a stone, a bomb" to break the glass - he may wish literally to break the window of this inn, but this is clearly meant in a symbolic sense. He wants to break down the system, which separates white and black, rich and poor, in South Africa. ...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 Moniza Alvi: Presents from my Aunts in Pakistan section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

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 Moniza Alvi: Presents from my Aunts in Pakistan essays

  1. 'Presents from my aunts in Pakistan' by Moniza Alvi, and 'Search for my tongue' ...

    A further variation, between the two poems, is that one poem is written all in English, where as the other is written half in English and half in Gujarati. Also, the poet Moniza Alvi has set out her poem in different stanzas, and sometimes she has started the beginning of a line half way through, away from the margin.

  2. Problems faced by the personas in the poems

    sari, however, where she mentions the Western clothes she only says, "cardigans from Marks and Spencers" - a very limited portrayal. This suggests that whilst imagining her Pakistani clothes she feels comfortable and capable of going into detailed description for the image is appealing to her.

  1. From Moniza Alvi's poetry, how do we learn about the challenges of living between ...

    This poem is written in free verse using irregular line lengths, which suggests a lack of control. I feel this is an important aspect to recognise because she clearly has no control over where she is or who she is.

  2. Poetry From Other Cultures

    in England where she is living now but in Pakistan where she comes from. The message of "Fat Black Woman goes shopping" is that she does not fit in and the clothing is a metaphor to show that she, the narrator, feels like she does not fit in to British

  1. Through my essay I attempt to explore three poems about nostalgia by three different ...

    (5 / 10) The second stanza in "Piano" starts with the words "In spite of myself" to give us the impression that the lovely song overwhelmed him and made him a slave of its beautiful notes. A very effective personification is used here as we are told that the song had an "insidious mastery" over him.

  2. English Literature Poems

    The poem Hurricane also uses third person references such as 'her' which is employed to distance the character. 'Presents' is structured to show the conflict of the characters culture and identity. In each paragraph each sentence is aligned differently however in 'Hurricane' it is structured differently.

  1. Comparing three poems, discuss the theme of life in other cultures.

    "Staring through the fret work" (line 68) she is too far away from the re-establishing Pakistan. There seems to be no set structural form to this poem. The stanzas are split up in which ever way the poet feels like in broken rhythm. The poem is written in free verse so there is no rhyme.

  2. Show how the idea of the importance of individuality is shown by comparing "This ...

    The themes of; personal honesty, self-truth, individuality and sense of self are also echoed throughout "This Room" by Imtiaz Dharker as well as "Love after Love."

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