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What methods does Dharker use in This Room to explain a different culture compared to Not My Business by Niyi Osundare?

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What methods does Dharker use in "This Room" to explain a different culture compared to "Not My Business" by Niyi Osundare? In the poem "This Room" Dharker uses the room as a personified metaphor throughout the whole poem. She talks of the room as if its living, to prove the point, in the first stanza it says "cracking through its own walls". She personifies the room as its cracking. I think she uses the word cracking as eggs crack. An egg gives new life; this could mean that the "room" as been given new life, new meaning or it could mean cracking in the form of destruction. However I think that the "room" has been suppressed and just given new life. ...read more.


In this stanza, its say "So long they don't take the yam From my savouring mouth?" This is important as it's asking the reader; why should I care? It doesn't affect me. Yet in "This room" Imtiaz Dharker just describes to the reader what's happening however in "Not my business" it talks to the reader more. I think that Niyi Osundare does this because "Not my business" seems to be about a country being suppressed and Niyi is questioning that with the reader. The repetition of the rhetorical question verse places more importance to it and reminds the reader what the poem is about to Niyi. In the second stanza of "This Room", it says "The bed is lifting out of it's nightmares". ...read more.


This routine is changing and so is the mood throughout the poem. At the beginning of the poem, it is almost hopeful however still quite dark yet by the end of it, it's celebrating and the mood is joyful. This is confusing however it is a quite gradual transition. On the other hand, in "Not my Business", the mood is quiet, thoughtful and sad. To illustrate the point, the last line says "Waiting, waiting in its usual silence". Niyi is being pensive and reflective, causing the reader to do so too. The word usual makes a difference on how the reader sees this stanza as usual would make it seem ordinary and it happens often. After all the poem is about; why should someone do something about it if it doesn't affect them? The word usual suggests that people don't do anything and just accept it. In "This Room" people have struggled to do something about it. ...read more.

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Response to the question

This question concentrates on how Imtiaz Dharker's 'This Room' and Niyi Osundare's 'Not My Business' show differences in culture. The candidate's answer is quite messily structured, and often it is hard to identify the point they are making. Nevertheless, the ...

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Response to the question

This question concentrates on how Imtiaz Dharker's 'This Room' and Niyi Osundare's 'Not My Business' show differences in culture. The candidate's answer is quite messily structured, and often it is hard to identify the point they are making. Nevertheless, the points they do make show someone who probably has a very deep understanding of the poems and how they present the struggles of other cultures, as well as the poems' theme; not so deep however, that they manage to comment effectively on the context of the poem but even so, the answer is wholly acceptable for a high B mark at GCSE.

Level of analysis

The Level of Analysis here is hard to decipher as a lot of the answer uses limited vocabulary and isn't very well-structured. However, picking out the good bits of the essay shows that this candidate has effectively addressed the question by commenting on a wide range of ideas proposed by the poem pertaining to their presentation of different cultures. The analysis of 'This Room' is far more effective than 'Not My Business's though, with the former receiving an analysis of how the language is used as a metaphor (the comments about the word "cracking" representing eggs which also crack, and how eggs are symbolic of new life, for example), and also an astute awareness of how the room represents her home country and how it could be interpreted as Pakistan breaking free from oppression.
Not so well done is the contextual appreciation in 'Not My Business'. Osundare is Nigerian, and the country was hugely oppressed from a tyrannical government (this is better explored in the candidate's response to 'This Room'), so the poem reflects how to speak out of turn or to say things against the dictatorship would result in death penalties, explaining why Osundare chooses to stay quiet and not bother trying to save his friends from "the Jeep" until it comes to him.
The answer sometimes sticks to the prescribed PEE structure for effective analysis, though at times there is a lack of proper Explanation of the Evidence - "“The jeep was waiting on my bewildered lawn” [Evidence]. I think that the lawn is meant to be Niyi; who is bewildered." This is not sufficient explanation enough to score any marks. Candidates need to provide insight into every Point they make, showing a detailed and sensitive understanding of the language used by the poets and the effect this has on the reader (there are moments though, where the effect on the reader is directly addressed and these points were awarded marks).
As a final point, analyses and comparison essay do not require a personal opinion to be directly made - the candidate quite frequently says "I think this means"/"To me this says", etc. This is not required as the question only asks for a comparison , not a personal response, e.g. - were the question "How do YOU think different cultures are presented in... etc.", then personal response is imperative, but in an strictly analytical essay a degree of objectivity is required.

Quality of writing

This is where the essay really falls down. The Quality of Written Communication is very sloppy and could even be telling of someone with dyslexia or another writing disability. Regardless though, their is an excellent use of descriptors and on occasion where the syntax makes the sentences unambiguous, some excellent points are made. The limited punctuation again prevents this answer from reaching the highest marks, but as said earlier, this answer should expect to receive and solid B for the candidates' efforts.

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Reviewed by sydneyhopcroft 20/02/2012

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