• 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. Compare Island Man and Limbo AQA Anthology

    Repetition is used in both poems. Repetition is used to emphasis that point a bit more and can add a bit of rhythm to the poem. An example of this in "Limbo" is "Up, Up, Up." The point that this is emphasising is that he's almost finished his limbo dance

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

    Both poems have an interesting structure and format. In both poems the structure helps to emphasize hidden meanings and emotions of the poems and helps the reader to understand what the poet is trying to teach us. In Vultures the structure helps the reader to understand the themes explored in the different stanzas and to be able to

  1. Comparing and Contrasting Poems

    To me the feeling this line portrays is of helplessness and maybe of shock, he does not go on to describe the event or tell the reader how he feels about the occurrence but as if he is numb, he says it all in a line.

  2. 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.

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

    Contrarily, though, by using powerful imagery, it is evident that the nature of the vultures will not be forgotten by the reader, and it will not be merely overridden by their love. After that, however, 'Vultures' describes cruelty in humans, which is more intense, as vultures always feed on carcasses.

  2. comapring and contrasting pre 1940's poems

    This is in stark contrast to Ferrara, who definitely feels he is superior to his listener. He is talking to the servant of a count, who is the father of his prospective bride. He tells him what to do, instructing him to 'meet the company below then', often employing mock

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