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

Poems in the anthology

Extracts from this document...


Compare the methods that two poets use in their poems to explore the past. In 'Island Man' by Grace Nichols and 'Vultures' by Chinua Achebe, the past is referred to in very different ways, both in terms of the ways in which it is presented and the way the poets seem to feel about it. In 'Island Man', the past is something that has become idealised. The Island Man is homesick for the things in the Caribbean that he most misses, namely the 'sound of the blue surf', 'the wild sea birds' and 'the sun breaking defiantly' on 'the small emerald island'. The way in which the Caribbean Island is described sounds much like something out of a travel brochure, conjuring images of unspoilt beaches, abundant ...read more.


The past (and indeed time in general) is treated very differently in Achebe's poem. Rather than show the transition of a few seconds from a pleasant dream to a more stark reality, 'Vultures' concerns the nature of evil. The poem begins by describing the birds 'nested close' to one another having just 'picked the eyes of a swollen corpse', showing that love and affection can exist in the most gruesome scenarios. 'Vultures' refers to a time from the past but you get the feeling that it could have referred to many other times to have made the same point. Achebe gives the example of how the 'commandant at Belsen' might have bought sweets for his daughter having just overseen slaughter in a concentration camp, meaning that he is able to do horrific things at the same time as acting like a loving parent. ...read more.


By comparing the activities of Vultures with those of the commandant at Belsen in World War II, we can see that the poet is making an observation on human nature in general that is not dependent on time. The poet could have chosen men who have committed atrocities from many other wars over the ages without affecting the impact of the poem. Those responsible for genocides may still show touching concern for their 'tender offspring'. Time is irrelevant in 'vultures' as the past is something that serves to show that human nature doesn't change. The poem begins with an observation from the present and then gives a theoretical example from the Second World War of the 'commandant at Belsen' who will 'pick up a chocolate for his tender offspring' and ends with the ambiguous conclusion on how 'the perpetuity of evil' can be viewed. ...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 Comparing poems 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 Comparing poems essays

  1. We have to do our coursework on this topic and the five poems I ...

    The first line of the poem, 'Tourist, white man wiping his face' tells us that the man in the poem is black, he doesn't like tourists and that the tourists are sweating because it is too warm for them. The words 'Golden grove' are alliteration.

  2. Comparing and Contrasting Poems

    I watched the holy man perform his rites' The significant words here are 'I watched' once again creating the impression of him not being part of that community and also this line shows us that he is a bystander which can hint to us once again of his age.

  1. Compare and contrast the poems Vultures and What where they were like? Focus on ...

    The final lines of the poem show how completely the people have been forgotten - their singing is remembered vaguely, sounding like "the flight of moths in moonlight" - but no one knows, since it is 'silent now.' Both poems have an interesting structure and format.

  2. How do the poets of Vultures and Two Scavengers in a Truck, Two Beautiful ...

    This phrase (picking the eyes) makes the reader think of cruel and inhumane forms of torture, and therefore makes this image even more disturbing, even though the animal is dead. Furthermore, animals' dead bodies are usually referred to as carcasses, however, by using 'corpse' Achebe has related this more to

  1. Compare Island Man and Limbo AQA Anthology

    In each poem, the Caribbean is described as different things... in Limbo the Caribbean is described as a place where slaves were used. In the actual poem, Brathwaite uses the anger of the slave and blames it all on to the Caribbean.

  2. comapring and contrasting pre 1940's poems

    He refers to their cities as those of 'men and manners...councils, governments'. By speaking of their 'manners' he shows that they are civilized, honorable and not like the Ithicans. He talks of having been 'honored by all' and this is probably because of how he attained his fame.

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