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To what extent are the poems, 'Nothings changed' and 'Half-caste', a message of protest.

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Introduction

To what extent are the poems, 'Nothings changed' and 'Half-caste', a message of protest. The two poems, 'Nothings changed' by Tatamkhulu Afrika and 'Half-caste' by John Agard, both deal with issues of race. 'Nothings changed' describes the return to district six after the apartheid in South Africa it presents a voice angry that nothing has changed since the apartheid has been abolished, and that racial segregation still exists. 'Half-caste' also communicates a protest against racial prejudice. It questions the use of the term half-caste and promotes more open views. The discontent behind both messages is clear in their tones. From the start Afrika sets a bitter and angry mood, "the hot, white, inwards turning anger of my eyes" the use of how deeply resentful he is about what is going on. Also the alliteration of the strong 't' consonant enhances the frustrated quality of this phrase. On the other hand 'Half-caste' challenges the reader with a mocking phrase "Excuse me standing on one leg I'm half-caste". This appears to set up a more relaxed atmosphere in first three lines. ...read more.

Middle

The rhythm is heavy and strong with hard consonant sounds like "trodden" and "gatepost" this gives a feeling of oppression. Also there is enjambment, which is shown when the poet says "seeding grasses thrust/ beaded seeds/ into trouser cuffs" this suggests urgency to release anger it is building up to the last line, "nothings changed" the short sentence ends the flow and implies defeat as the protest is replaced by acceptance that the separation still stands. Similarly the rhyme in 'Half-caste' is random which continues the theme. The main images highlighted by rhyme such as "mix a black key with a white key is a half-caste symphony". The rhythm is uneven which again emphasises the concept of half. The interesting use of colloquial language provides lots of focus on the sounds of words for example "yu", "de" or "dem" which makes the rhythm more confident and direct. In 'nothings changed' the poet begins with monosyllabic language. The first line is "small round hard stone click" which echoes the sound of walking on gravel this sensory language draws in the reader to the message. ...read more.

Conclusion

This shape will disappear, and metaphorically describes how his voice of protest is lost within him. The imagery that Agard uses imagery is based around these of "mix" and "half". Opposites like "black and white" and "light and shadow" shows two extremes which in people should be accepted as equals. He also says things like "half of mih ear" , "half of mih eye" and "half-hand" these are unrealistic concepts which is mocking the term half-caste. He uses a metaphor of "Tchaikovsky" writing a symphony and Picasso mixing colours. The use of an artist and a composer gives out a message universally. Also using art and music, pleasant things, shows how wrong and unpleasant using the term "half-caste" is. Finally, the change in imagery at the end of the poem shows Agards encouragement of open mindedness. He uses "whole" and "tomorrow" which suggest in the future the prejudice can change. Overall both poems show a protest although I think half-caste is defiant outwards protest that chalenges the reader with clever imagery and language. Nothings changed seems to show protest and anger held within or "inwards turning anger". It also shows frustration of accepting the harsh life of being an inferior in South Africa. ...read more.

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