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What Do You Find Interesting About The Work Of Grace Nichols?

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What Do You Find Interesting About The Work Of Grace Nichols? Grace Nichols was born in Guyana in 1950. She lived there until 1977 when she came to live with her partner, another poet. She writes many poems and anthologies. Her poems are mainly about black people and their sense of culture. She writes about the pride they have to be themselves and not to feel embarrassed about who they are. She has also written poetry about missing her home and about what it feels like to be away. I have chosen to study four poems by Grace Nichols: these are, 'Beauty,' 'The Fat Black Woman Goes Shopping,' 'Like A Beacon' and 'Island Man.' These four poems all explore different aspects of cultural diversity. 'Beauty' is about Nichols' own views of beauty and not listening to the stereotypical ideas that are impounded into everybody's minds. Nichols doesn't mean beauty in the sense of having a perfect figure and features but beauty in the form of being proud of herself and content with whom she is. This poem is primarily about a fat black woman. Another of these poems is about a fat black woman. The title of this is 'The Fat Black Woman Goes Shopping.' Though this poem shows that she is proud of who she is, it also shows a little touch of insecurity within herself. I can tell this through the lines 'and de pretty face sales gals exchanging slimming glances' These lines show that she feels anger towards the girls for having the stereotypical traits of beauty that she was so against in the last poem. ...read more.


'Island Man' also uses third person narrative. This is effective in this poem as it makes the poem seem as if it is a dream. It distances the reader from the person in the poem and makes the whole situation seem further away. If it had been written in first person, it would have made the reader feel closer to the person in the poem and so it would have made it feel less like a dream and more like life. Third person narrative gives you the feeling of distance, which makes the poem more enjoyable to read. Nichols uses many techniques to create the moods that she feels are appropriate for her poems. In her poem Beauty, Nichols wants to create the image of warm, calm settings. This is effective because the poem is based on beauty and warm, calm things are thought of as beautiful. 'The Fat Black Woman Goes Shopping' wants to create an angry and miserable mood. Nichols does this by using hard alliteration and pathetic fallacy. She uses winter to create cold images and hard alliteration to create the presence of anger and annoyance. This is effective in the poem because she is aggravated at the fact that the shop is prejudiced against women with clothes sizes over 14, as they don't have any. The poem 'Like A Beacon' is trying to set the mood of the beacon being warmth and the light of her home, the Caribbean, and where she actually is, London, the cold place and not somewhere she would like to be. ...read more.


If rhyme had been used throughout the poem, it would not have been so effective. Nichols' use of repetition in this poem works very well. The poem is all about a long unproductive day and repetition exaggerates that. She repeats the word 'journeying' twice and it gives a real sense of boredom and tiredness. In her poem 'Like A Beacon,' Nichols also uses the structure to emphasise a main point. She wants to make it clear about how she feels. She has written 'I Need This Link' on its own, in between the two verses. The poem flows very well until it gets to that line. Nichols separates it and this makes the reader stop and think about what the poet is trying to say. 'Island Man' uses repetition. Nichols uses it to exaggerate the first word and to make the mood of the poem clearer. It works well and it accentuates the dull image that Nichols is trying to paint of London e.g. 'groggily groggily.' These four poems by Grace Nichols are poems that I have found very interesting. They all use ideas about cultural identity and racial difference and this makes the poems very engrossing. Though I have never been in the situation of missing home ('Like A Beacon' and 'Island Man') or having to deal with prejudice against my size ('The Fat Black Woman Goes Shopping'), I feel, through reading the poetry that I understand and sympathise greatly with people who have to deal with these things. The poems have given me a greater understanding of the culture of Grace Nichols and I have thoroughly enjoyed reading and working on them. ...read more.

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