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Search For My Tongue by Sujata Bhatt - review

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Introduction

Search For My Tongue by Sujata Bhatt The Context Of The Poem Sujata Bhatt was born in the Indian state of Gujarat where her mother tongue was Gujarati. Later she moved onto United States where she learnt English. In and interview, she says " I have always thought of myself as an Indian who is outside India". Her mother tongue is for her and important link to her family and to her childhood. " That's the deepest layer of my identity". What Is The Poem About 1. The poet explains what it is like to speak and think into two languages. 2. She wonders whether she might lose the language she began with. 3. However, the mother tongue remains with her in her dreams. 4. By the end, she is confident that it will always be part of who she is. Structure & Sound The poem is written three sections: 1. The poet expresses how hard it is for her to know two languages but neglect the one that she feels most belongs to her 2. ...read more.

Middle

The phrase lost my tongue (line 2) is used colloquially to mean that someone is tongue-tied and doesn't know what to say. Read the poem carefully and see where Sujata Bhatt plays with these meanings. For example, she imagines that knowing two languages is like have two tongues in your mouth (line 4) The poet compares her tongue to a plant, as she develops her ideas. This is called Extended Metaphor Answers This poem (or rather extract from a long poem) explores a familiar ambiguity in English "tongue" refers both to the physical organ we use for speech, and language we speak with it. (Saying "tongue" for "speech" is an example of metonymy). In the poem Sujata Bhatt writes about the "tongue" in both ways t once. To lose your tongue normally means not knowing what to say, but Ms. Bhatt suggests that one can lose one's tongue, in another sense. The speaker in this poem is obviously the poet herself, but she speaks for many who fear they may have lost their ability to speak for themselves and their cultures. ...read more.

Conclusion

Clearly this poem is bout cultural and personal identity. The familiar metaphor of the tongue is used in a novel way to show that losing one's language cultural is like losing part of one's body. The poets' dream my be something she has really dreamt "overnight" but is clearly also a "dream" in the sense of something she wants to happen in dreams, if not in reality, it is possible for the body to regenerate. For this reason the poems ending is ambiguous perhaps it is only her dream that the poet can find her "mother -tongue". On the other hand, she may be arguing that even when she thinks she has lost it, it can be found again. At the end of the poem there is a striking extended metaphor in which the regenerating tongue is likened to a plant cut back to a stump, which grows and eventually buds, to become the flower which "blossoms out of" the poets' mouth. It is as if her mother tongue is exotic, spectacular or fragrant, as a flower might be. Amir Saeed Cluster 2 1 ...read more.

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