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Referring To Poems From Different Cultures

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Poetry Essay: Referring To Poems From Different Cultures In this essay I will be comparing three poems, all concerning the social acceptance and positions of different cultures. The three poems are: 'Search For My Tongue' by Sujata Bhatt, 'Unrelated Incidents' by Tom Leonard and 'Half-Caste' by John Agard. The first one deals with he clash of languages, the second one with the seclusion of the lower class, and the third one with the controversial term of being 'half-caste'. 'Search For My Tongue' by Sujata Bhatt describes her fear of losing her mother tongue to a new language. She has moved away from her own country and now speaks her new language more than her native tongue, which she worries might 'rot and die' because of the struggle between the two languages. However, she is relieved when her mother tongue returns in her dreams. She imagines it as pushing away the other tongue, and she is delighted that she still remembers it. 'Unrelated Incidents' is about Tom Leonard's views on the separation between lower classes and upper and middle classes. He feels that a posh accent does not make you more important than someone with a 'common' accent. He believes that one's dialect should not affect the way people are judged, and if they are listened to or not. ...read more.


The poem is written in original, phonetic Glaswegian, using a lot of slang, and almost no punctuation. It speaks directly to the reader using colloquial words and very direct phrases ("belt up"). It explains the idea that many people believe that you should be judged on your accent and class. The poem seems to be read by a BBC newsreader that would normally have a "BBC accent". However, the poem is written in a normal speaking accent, in this case Glaswegian. Prejudices are also revealed, something that would not happen in real life, but this may be the kind of sub-text that appears when newsreaders read their copy. The poem itself explains and fights a serious issue in a humorous, satirical way. Is this the way the media actually see us "common scruff"? And why should an accent or a class define you as a person, at least in front of others? Leonard tells us that there is no 'right' way to speak, as he satirically says in the poem: "thirza right way ti spell ana right way to tok it" The point here is that a Glaswegian accent is just as 'correct' and respectable as a "BBC accent", and that an accent is just the way you speak, not the way you are. ...read more.


This is also almost "mixed language", just like being mixed race. The term "half-caste" kind of implies that they are second-class, which is what this goes against. The tone of the poem seems to start off being understanding but a little angry. He puts the racists on the spot by asking them to "explain [demselves]", like you would do if someone had hurt someone else, or committed a crime of some sort. He also uses humour to make it easier to read, and like Agard himself said: "Humour brakes down barriers" I.e. the barrier between people in this instance. Finally, I believe that the aim of the poem is to argue the case that being mixed race doesn't make you "half" of anything, you are exactly the same as everyone else. Agard wrote this poem to help people understand this. The three poems all explore the issues of cultural identity and the barriers between cultures and especially concerning language. "Search for my Tongue" explains a personal struggle (which some people can relate to) while "Unrelated Incidents" and "Half-Caste" explain issues on a wider scale involving global issues, with more scope. My favourite out of the three is "Unrelated Incidents" by Tom Leonard. He proves a lot of valid points and I agree with the statement he is making. Also, the humour in the poem is good, and something which I can personally relate to in many ways. ...read more.

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