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A Comparison of 'Ala' and 'In My Name'

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Introduction

A COMPARISON OF 'ALA' AND 'IN MY NAME'. In the following studies I shall contrast and compare two Caribbean poems written by Grace Nichols. The two poems are 'Ala' and 'In my name'. Both poems are published in the book 'I is a long memoried woman' which is a book of Caribbean poems; a lot of the poems are in Creole. Throughout the study I will be looking at the differences and similarities of the two poems and choose a preference. The poems 'Ala' and 'In my name' are both based on slavery and the way black people especially women were treated in the Caribbean. Both poems have a women slave as the main focus. In, In my name' the slave woman who is the main character is also the poetic voice whereas in 'Ala' there is a group of slave women who are the poetic voices talking about the main character 'Uzo'. Both poems have little if not any punctuation. There is straightforward language in both poems although 'Ala' has got some Creole but only in the form of missing off the last letter of a word. ...read more.

Middle

The newborn child in 'In my name' is defined to be half-caste because in the eighteen verses the mother of the child calls her unborn baby "my strange mulatto" which proves the baby is half-caste. I can only assume that the slave women were raped because it was highly unlikely that a white man and black women would have a loving relationship. 'In my name' is about a woman ready to give birth to her child, comforting it and telling the world to except her child. The slave woman is very protected over her unborn child; she wants the child to be hers and nobody else's. The slave women repeats the word "my" a lot which indicates to me that the slave women is trying to enthuses that she wants her baby to be hers and only hers. I feel that in 'Ala' the slave woman truly cores for her child and did not want the misfortunes that occurred in her life to take affect in her child's life. The poem reads "back to Africa-free" this shows that the love that the slave woman had for her child was the force that made her kill it. ...read more.

Conclusion

She says her child is "tainted" and "perfect". The love for her child made it perfect but the issues that have happened in her life has made the child tainted. This is also an oxymoron because if something is perfect then it cannot be tainted, it is a contradiction. I feel that 'Ala' has a very angry and disturbing tone as it describes two very unpleasant deaths. Both poems end in a kind of prayer. The last lines of the two poems are opposite. 'Ala' is about after life and 'In my name' is about the begging of life. I enjoyed reading both of the poems. I thought they were both powerful and meaningful and related very well to real life issues back then. I did prefer 'In my name' because I found 'Ala' extremely disturbing because of the way Grace Nicholes describes the death of Uzo. I found it harsh and strong and it gave me a feeling of sadness. Despite this I found both poems very prevailing and effective. They made me take into the consideration the horrific conditions of black slaves and how they were treated in the Caribbean. ...read more.

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