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GCSE: John Agard: Half-Caste

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  1. Study the way in which 'Half-caste' and 'Nothings changed' display their attitudes towards racism The poem 'Half caste' is written by the poet John Agard, who was born in South America

    In both poems the person in the poem despises racism; both people have suffered from racism. In the poem 'half caste' the man uses a conversational and chatty tone 'excuse me, standing on one leg, I'm half-caste' he uses humour to get through to the audience but still it sends the message to them that he hates the idea of racism, and the humour of this quotation also shows that the idea of half-caste is laughable. He does not rant on about his argument but puts into a simple way for everyone to understand, very much like the famous Martin Luther king Jr with his speech ' I have a dream...'.

    • Word count: 1007
  2. Compare the ways in which the poets protest about injustice in'Not my Business' and 'Half Caste'

    It also has a sarcastic tone about how it is 'not my business' when really it is. In 'Half Caste' the poet is mocking the use of the word half caste as a derisive term. The first stanza is sarcastic and the message of the poem is how the short sightedness of which people view people of a mixed race is wrong and how they need to view 'wid de whole of ya eye' and not just half. It is trying to put across the message that because someone is half caste, do not think of them as half the person you are.

    • Word count: 640
  3. In Arundhati Roy's novel, The God of Small Things, the laws of India's caste system are broken by the characters of Ammu and Velutha, an Untouchable or Paravan. Velutha works at the Paradise

    Hindus believe that being an Untouchable is punishment for having been bad in a former life. By being good and obedient, an Untouchable can obtain a higher rebirth. Velutha's lack of complacency causes him many problems throughout the novel. "It was not entirely his fault that he lived in a society where a man's death could be more profitable than his life had ever been" (267). Although he is a dedicated member of the Marxist Party, his Untouchable status makes other party members dislike him, and so local Party leader Comrade K.N.M. Pillai would be more politically successful without him.

    • Word count: 820
  4. Comparing poems from different cultures.

    This poem also relays to you the fact that even if you've forgotten your mother tongue and don't speak it for some time it will always come back and blossom if it is used enough. The poet also puts the point across by repeating the word tongue over and over again. The foreign tongue can never take the place of the mother tongue, because it is part of your own identity. The passage '....but over night while I dream it grows back..'

    • Word count: 893
  5. Poetry from other cultures.

    There writing techniques are different as John Agard uses his own rules when he writes, as Moniza Alvi sticks to the correct English grammar and spelling. John Agard's poem is very different to Moniza Alvi's poem, they talk about the same issues concerning race, but they have do not have the same views on there own race. John Agard is very proud of his mixed racial origin, and in the poem says that it is not clever and makes a mockery of people who discriminate him, he is proud to be who he is.

    • Word count: 758
  6. Poems From Other Cultures

    The poem appears very fragmented on the page. This might suggest the fragmented or 'broken' nature of society? The language used in this poem is used in different ways to convey his ideas. For example; the title shows us straight away that the poem will be about the contrasts between two pairs of people. 'Scavengers' is a belittling term for the garbage men because it suggests that they live off the rubbish of others - a scavenger beetle lives off rotting flesh. However, Beautiful People is a compliment.

    • Word count: 2116
  7. Homework: Comparison of Half-Caste and Six O'clock News

    The poems use very different language. "This is thi six a clock new thi man said." This has a lot of non-standard English and is written how it is spelt. In Half-Caste it is very formal. "Excuse me standing on one leg, I'm half-caste." The narrator in Half-Caste is trying to get the point across that half-caste people are not half; they are full.

    • Word count: 334
  8. Poetry Analysis of: Limbo, Blessing, and Half caste

    The writer shows fluent use of rhythm even by using varied length of lines, this makes the reader go along with the movement of both the poem and the storyline in general, it also makes it more involving to the reader. Limbo is a poem of positions as the writer uses such language to break down the moment in the poem, one example of this is when he uses the words 'down down down'. Speaking opposite to this phrase the writer then re-enforces the poem by using the words 'up up up' which elevates the moment of the poem.

    • Word count: 1179
  9. How do the poems, 'Half-Cast', 'Nothings Changed,' and 'Two Scavengers in a truck, Two beautiful People in a Mercedes,' expree Anger?

    He quotes ''am i half a man?''This proves his distress,and although he uses humour the poem has a serious message.Agard uses repetition effectively thorught the poem, for example, ''explain yuself, wha you mean?'' This line is used in every stransa.Agard alkso uses surreal comparissons to express his emotions to the reader such as ''black key...white key''Here he is contrasting the black race, and the white race and wander where he stands in the middle. 'Nothings Changed' by Tatamkula Afrika also uses surreal ides to illustrate his point.For example, ''A bomb, to shiver down the glass.''His ideas and the use of

    • Word count: 915
  10. Using the poems 'Telephone Conversation' By Wole Soyinka and 'Nothing Said' by Brenda Agard explain how the poets convey and challenge the message in their poems. Also compare the similarities and differences.

    The poem is presumably set in London, with the narrator pleading his case from within a red telephone box, feeling quite outraged at the unjust comments which face him. The opening lines of the poem are direct and straightforward, "The price seemed reasonable, location indifferent." The dismissive attitude in the opening lines is mirrored in the landlady's character, showing ambiguity in Soyinka's writing. The landlady, much like the location, is 'indifferent' and shows no compassion toward the African man. Sadness is experienced on behalf of the narrator, as he is treated dismissively by the landlady and is made to feel a sense of shame in his black African origins.

    • Word count: 2215
  11. Compare the way John Agard, Tom Leonard and one other poet express feelings of anger and injustice. Think about the use of rhythm/rhyme, imagery (metaphor/simile), sounds, presentation, use of dialect and humour.

    the birth of children as it says "to delight in blossom" linking the birth of a child to a sprout of a new plant. It then says "but after the children were killed there were no more buds" where it is referring the children as buds because they were still so young and hadn't grown up yet just like the plants buds. The third answer where it says "laughter is bitter to the burned mouth" is referring to the napalm which was dropped that burned through flesh causing extreme pain and is asking how someone could laugh at that.

    • Word count: 933
  12. Compare and contrast the cultures of two poems - Unrelated Incidents, by Tom Leonard and Half-Caste, by John Agard

    "Half-Caste" has 53 lines and no full stops. It has what (at a first glance) seem to be random forward slashes, but I have now realised that it seems to welcome a pause after each forward slash. In "Unrelated Incidents" there aren't any capital letters except for "BBC" which is something I didn't pick up on at first. The poems are both performance poems and the tone or mood of them are similar - there is some humour in both poems and they look as though they should be spoken in an angry sort of way.

    • Word count: 921
  13. Essay to compare the ways that culture and identity are presented in Hurricane Hits England by Grace Nichols and Half Caste by John Agard.

    In his poem, Agard does not talk about himself directly; instead he strongly implies that he is talking about himself by talking aggressively as if he is being insulted, ' Wha yu mean?' This tells the reader that he does not wish to talk only about himself, but also that many other people are affected with the same issues.

    • Word count: 500
  14. Comparison of the poems Half-caste and Not My Business.

    You never know. The first poem is about the term 'Half-Caste' which the poet: John Agard, objects to as he thinks that it makes us think of people of mixed race as only half a person instead of a whole person or individual. The next poem 'Not My Business' is about the violence used by the state authorities against the people of Nigeria. The poet: Niyi Osundare believes that you should stand up for what is right, regardless of whether it bothers you at that specific time.

    • Word count: 718
  15. I have chosen Half-Caste and Nothing's Changed because both discuss the issue of racism.

    This being from Half-Caste shows that things that people witness are a mixture of things and aren't looked at as half of something so why are John and others classed as half-caste. He gives many examples putting his point across, that showing us the reader his purpose. Tatamkhulu is attempting to state in his poem that the colour of your skin determines nearly everything about you. An example is the 'up market, haute cuisine' in the third and fifth stanza, that being where the whites dine, then in the following stanza comments about the 'working man's caf´┐Ż' where the non-whites eat their 'bunny chows' on the 'plastic tables top'.

    • Word count: 1563
  16. Outline the significant features of the Caste system, and Comment on the criticisms made on the Caste system.

    The reincarnation cycle extends to the composition of society: the caste system. Hence, being a Brahmin is the highest level one can be in the reincarnation cycle, for this is the level at which one can understand Moksha and thus attain it. Therefore the caste system affects the interactions between Hindus. But can the caste system be a mere invention of the Brahmin in Vedic society, for this reason it is necessary to examine its origins, yet another key feature of the caste system.

    • Word count: 2082
  17. Poetry From Other Cultures.

    For example in 'Unrelated incidents' one of the lines said 'way ti spell' which means the way to spell and likewise in 'Half-caste' he writes 'wha yu mean' which means what do you mean. Each poem is spoken in a different type of phonetic accent but it can be clearly seen that each poem was meant to be written in the native languages of the authors. 'Half-caste' relies on the readers sense of imagination because he is trying to get across the point that the famous people that he mentions such as Picasso mixed two colours and they were seen

    • Word count: 696
  18. Afro-Caribbean Poetry.

    The poem I will study "I love me mudder". The last poet work I will be looking at will be John Agard. Agard was born in Guyana in 1949, the country was still a British colony until 1966. In 1977 Agard moved to England. This is where he became the light of the new West Indian British dawn of various bardic compositions. Agard is a poet whom blends calypso styled language with unique sounding spoken word. The work I will be studying is "Half-caste" I have paired the poems up.

    • Word count: 882
  19. Half-Caste.

    This, of course, creates a strange and confusing picture for the audience, but that is exactly what Agard wants to say about the word "half-caste": it is a strange and confusing word. Excuse me Standing on one leg I'm half-caste In this unusual way, it is almost as if the poet wants to draw attention to himself and the word at the same time in order to force us to re-consider what "half-caste" means.

    • Word count: 504
  20. Comparing Three Poems 'Half-Caste' 'Search For My Tongue' & 'Unrelated Incidents'.

    "...and when I'm introduced to yu I'm sure you'll understand why I offer yu half-a-hand..." This quote suggests that non half-caste peoples attitudes towards half-caste people is that they are not human, and do not do everyday things the way they would do themselves. Agard exaggerates his ideas in order to make his argument a lot clearer. "..an when moon begin to glow I half-caste human being cast half-a-shadow..." It is obvious that half-caste people do not caste shadows different to anyone else, but the emphasis on the ridiculousness of the mere idea of a different type of shadow makes the idea of half-caste people being 'different' just as ridiculous.

    • Word count: 1013
  21. Why did the caste system develop and how was it perpetuated?

    The second was kharma (the sum of merits of a person at any given time in their life). These two factors alone may be the only reason the caste system has endured so long in Indian society. Sometime between 200 B.C. and 100 A.D. the Law of Manu was written. In the Law of Manu the Aryan priests created the great hereditary divisions of society. They ranked themselves at the top, the Brahmins (the priests), followed by the Kshatiyas (the warriors), the Vaisyas (the farmers and merchants), and finally the Sudras (the laborers) born into servitude for the other three castes.

    • Word count: 691
  22. How do poets from other cultures and traditions show suffering because of their identity?

    The quote above shows the narrator is using irony to question what the reader thinks of him, by saying he is 'half-caste.' It also shows that he thinks the term 'half-caste' is ridiculous, saying this is what I must do if I'm half a person. The language used in the first and second stanza changes from Standard English to Jamaican English dialect. '...Explain yuself, wha yu mean, when yu say half-caste...' The effect this has on the poem and the reason the poet changes it is because it mirrors the poet himself.

    • Word count: 1515
  23. Discuss the ways in which relationships between parents and children are explored by the writers of Kiss Miss Carol and The Son's Veto.

    In KMC Jolil is embarrassed of his dad's English and the way he dress. "He felt shy going around with him and sitting at the teacher's table and listening to his dad's broken English" Mr Miah wants his son to have a traditional upbringing while Jolil wants to be British. "Jolil was born in Britain John Agard came to England from Guyana in 1977. Like many Caribbeans, he is himself of mixed race - his mother is Portuguese but born in Guyana and his father is black. One of the things he enjoys about living in England is the wide range of people he meets: 'The diversity of cultures here is very exciting'.

    • Word count: 1321
  24. I will be looking at how the theme of conflict is presented in the poem Flag written by John Agard.

    The poem is made up of five stanzas, each stanza contains three lines. The first line of every stanza is a question regarding the flag which is being asked by the naïve questioner, the following two lines then answer the question. The second line in each stanza is the shortest; this creates a blunt and cynical tone. The first and third lines in each stanza rhyme, except in the last stanza, this links the question and the answer and helps make the last word in each stanza significant.

    • Word count: 465

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