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"Search for my tongue" and "Presents from my Aunts in Pakistan" comparison.

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Introduction

Sujatta Bhatt and Moniza Alvi both use a variety of techniques in their poems Search for my Tongue and Presents from my Aunts in Pakistan to present their ideas. These techniques serve to support the complex ideas of belonging and identity. In Search for my Tongue Sujatta Bhatt explores the effect of having to write in a language that is not her own. She fears that by writing in English, which she has to do in order to gain an audience, she is killing off her native tongue. Bhatt also notes that she can never really know her second tongue. This is clear in the opening to the poem, which states: "You ask me what I mean By saying I have lost my tongue" The poem is directed at the audience, using a second person narrator, as if she aims to make us understand what it is like for her to have to write in English. She uses this technique to show us that she is different from her audience. The use of pronouns with "you" and "my" separates Bhatt from her readers; it sounds almost confrontational. Alvi examines a similar way of concern over belonging and identity. She, like Bhatt, is forced to live with two cultures and is unsure of how she fits into either. ...read more.

Middle

She continues this idea when she notes she notes that she was "aflame". Bhatt cleverly illustrates her point about a "foreign tongue" by writing a portion of her poem in Gujarati, with a western phonic representation of the sound of the symbols underneath. This visual representation of the difference between the languages is powerful and does more to present her themes than the extended metaphor she uses. Overall, Sujatta Bhatt seems to more powerfully illustrate her point. The use of the Gujerati script was an ingenious method for visually representing the foreign nature of the script to us and vice versa for her. Her extended metaphor of the flower and the tongue serves to cleverly illustrate the beauty she sees in her native language. In contrast, Alvi does powerfully represent the confusion of the girl in some depth but this is not only a personal reflection therefore it loses some of its emotional power. The writer, Moniza Alvi, reveals her past in an autobiographical way in her poem Presents from my Aunts in Pakistan. The poem shows the reader her feelings for Pakistan, the country she was born in. The line "of no fixed nationality" sums up the tone of the poem, that because she lives in England, speaks English but is from Pakistan, she does not seem to belong anywhere. ...read more.

Conclusion

Sujata Bhatt uses nature at first to describe the fear of losing her "mother tongue". One line in particular shows this idea in a vivid and disgusting way: "rot and die". It shows that she believes she has not looked after her first language skills and now they have withered like a flower. She then uses nature to describe how, every time she thinks she has forgotten it, "it blossoms out of my mouth". This was an effective device to use as it shows that she can never really forget; like the seasons it comes and goes but she cannot forget it completely. Both poems are unusual and are written to inform and to entertain the reader but both have a deeper message. A quotation from Presents from my Aunts in Pakistan sums up Alvi's poem also: "staring through the fretwork at the Shalimar Gardens" tells the reader that even though she is fully accepted in both of her cultures, she feels she will never be allowed completely to enter. This contrasts with Search for my Tongue because Alvi seems to wish she had one nationality or another while Bhatt's dream is to fit fully into both cultures; she speaks of "if you had both tongues in your mouth" but she knows she never will as they would be too squashed and neither would be either to work fully. ...read more.

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