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Poems From Other Cultures

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Introduction

GCSE English Coursework Poems From Other Cultures Of the two poems from the other cultures booklet, I have decided to compare "Half-caste" by John Agard and "Two Scavengers in a Truck, Two Beautiful People in a Mercedes" by Lawrence Ferlinghetti. In this essay I will discuss the meaning of the two poems and what the poet is trying to get the reader to think and / or realise. The poem describes four people held together for a moment at a red traffic light. There are two scavengers, garbage men 'on their way home' after their round, and two beautiful people, an elegant couple 'on the way to his architect's office'. The garbage men's day ends where the young couple's begins. The poet compares the two pairs in detail, and then seems to ask - at the end of the poem - whether America really is a democracy. The poem's structure is fairly free. The poet doesn't use punctuation; instead, he begins a new line when he wants us to pause in our reading. This slows the poem down and gives us time to appreciate each idea. The poem appears very fragmented on the page. ...read more.

Middle

and the expressive word grungy make us pity them. 'as if anything at all were possible between them' This quote gives the message that the poet would like to believe that the two pairs he describes really could be friends - but the as if tells us he knows that is only imaginary. He feels that democracy hasn't succeeded because communication between the rich and poor is still impossible. The elegant couple are not described in as much detail as the garbage men, as if the poet is less interested in them. He uses a clich� here, the cool couple - which is how they probably think of themselves. The second of the two poems is "Half-Caste' by John Agard. The speaker in the poem ridicules the use of the term 'half-caste' by following the idea through to its logical conclusion: * Should Picasso be seen as second-rate because he mixed a variety of colours in his paintings? * Should the English weather be scorned because it is full of light and shadow? * Should Tchaikovsky's music be seen as inferior because he used both the black notes and the white notes on the piano? ...read more.

Conclusion

And Ferlinghetti talks about the fluctuation of society in America and how democracy has seemed to have failed. Even though these poems are about controversial issues, they can be quite easily linked when you delve into the hidden meanings. Also having another poems to compare it with, made it a bit easier to find some of the hidden meanings, as they were both quite closely linked in certain ways. The attitudes of the two poems are also quite similar. They are both mentioning the differences between groups of people in society, be it Whites, Blacks, Hindus, Rich, Poor etc. The structures of the two poems are quite different to each other. Agard's poem is set into 5 stanzas - albeit of different length, but they are still distinguishable. Ferlinghetti's poem has no clear structure at first glance, but each stanza does look quite similar. As I have previously spoken about, the reason for this is to show how fractured the American society really is. After analysing these two poems and writing about them I have realised just how closely related they actually are. At first glance they would seem to be completely different, but after studying them I found that the issues discussed within the hidden meanings are actually not that different. Dan Barker 11 M Page 1 ...read more.

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