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Poetry From Other Cultures

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Introduction

Laura Jeacock Poetry from Other Cultures What is a culture? Culture is the full range of learned human behaviour patterns. The 2 poems I am going to compare are Vultures and Nothings Changed. Vultures was written by a Nigerian tribesman named Chinua Achebe. Achebe was born in Ogidi, Nigeria in 1930. He was christened as Albert Achebe. He is one of the most admired African novelists who writes in English. On the other hand, Nothing's Changed was written by Tatamkhula Afrika, born in Egypt and came to South Africa as a child. Nothing's Changed is an autobiographic poem and follows the journey of Afrika as he returns back to his home town after the Apartheid is over. However, he fails to see how the abolishment of the Apartheid has changed District Six of Cape Town, where he lived as a child and grew up, as there is still a division between the whites and blacks. This is shown by comparing the posh "whites only inn "and the "working mans cafe selling bunny chows". Whereas Achebe's poem, Vultures, give us an insight into how 2 different sides of people or animals can exist. The vultures of the title may be birds of prey but Chinua Achebe used to represent people of a certain kind. Achebe kinks his poem to World War 2. He wrote Vultures shortly after the end of the war. ...read more.

Middle

"Perched high...nestled close to his mate". In the 1st part of vultures, the poem is written in past tense. These changes at "thus the commandment..." to present tense to create immediacy. Vultures is set into 2 stanzas. The first stanza is all about the daily routine of 2 vultures and a commandment at Belsen death camp. The second stanza however sums up not just the vultures but also all inequalities "that grants even an ogre, a tiny glow worm tenderness encapsulated". It is also written in free verse, with lines of different lengths. The lines are short so we can read the poem slowly and can appreciate its full horrors. In Nothings Changed, there are 7 stanzas, each stanza showing a different part of Afrika's journey back to District 6. The first 3 stanzas show the white area of District 6 whereas the last 3 stanzas represent the black's area of the District. The centre stanza, "No sign says it is, but we know where we belong", represents the centre of the poem. The point that the poem revolves around. Vultures has no real structure to it. I believe this represents the life if the commandment at Belsen Camp. The way he has no set routine to his day but has the power to do anything he wants. In contrast, Nothing's Changed sticks to rhythm and represents the blacks of Cape Town, having to stick to the rules and being restricted into a routine. ...read more.

Conclusion

Towards the end, there is a theme of violence, as Afrika imagines himself breaking the window in the "Whites only inn" which would therefore break the divide. Both the poems have a conclusive theme of inequality. Tatamkhula commented on his poem "I am full of hope, but I won't see it in my lifetime. It's going to take a long time" Tatamkhula is waiting for the change in inequality to come, however he realises there is a lot of work to be done and the inequalities, between the blacks and whites which will not be over in his lifetime. I think Afrika wrote this poem to outline just how bad the problems are in, not just District Six and Africa but all over the world. Although the poem was written in 1990 and the 'weighing scales' have had 18 years to equal out, the closeness between the blacks and whites is still not there. Today, as you walk around any town, you will see acts of racism, or evil as we take into account Vultures. Achebe wrote Vultures to make the reader think about subjects that are only thought about momentarily. The subject of good and evil is not thought about enough. Achebe wrote this to highlight things in human nature that are forgotten about. After analysing both poems, I have to say Vultures is my favourite as it has more background to it, it has more room for exploration into the poem itself. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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