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GCSE: Moniza Alvi: Presents from my Aunts in Pakistan

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  • Peer Reviewed essays 2
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  1. Peer reviewed

    .Presents from my Aunts in Pakistan by Moniza Alvi

    4 star(s)

    'Presents' is an autobiographical poem and is written in free verse. The lengths of the stanzas vary throughout as well as the line lengths which are thrown randomly across the page. Alvi uses these poetic strategies to show how she varies from confusion to resignation about where she belongs and her feelings of alienation. There are end stopped lines to describe her sudden emotions. It would be impossible for her to fit in completely with British society because her life is jam packed full of reminders of her home culture and her roots in Pakistan and as she states this quite clearly in the poem.

    • Word count: 2104
  2. Peer reviewed

    The poem Presents from my Aunts in Pakistan, by Moniza Alvi, is about a girl who has emigrated from Pakistan to Britain

    3 star(s)

    This could perhaps relate to decorative jewels on the salwar kameez. A metaphor is used when the girl speaks about a war involving her country - she refers to it as "a fractured land". The word "fractured" is usually used when talking about broken bones. The girl may feel that although it is her country that is broken, she feels broken inside. In the first sentence, "snapped" is onomatopoeia - it creates an effect of something actually being snapped through what the word sounds like.

    • Word count: 854
  3. Presents from my Aunts in Pakistan - my annotations and commentary.

    marvel at the colours like stained glass.[SB20] My mother cherished her jewellery - Indian gold, dangling, filigree.[SB21] But it was stolen from our car.[SB22] The presents were radiant in my wardrobe[SB23]. My aunts requested cardigans from Marks and Spencers. [SB24] My salwar kameez[SB25] didn't impress the schoolfriend who sat on my bed, asked to see my weekend clothes.[SB26] But often I admired the mirror-work,[SB27] tried to glimpse myself in the miniature glass circles, recall the story how the three of us sailed to England.

    • Word count: 767
  4. Line by line commentary on "Presents from my aunt in Pakistan"

    marvel at the colours like stained glass.[SB20] My mother cherished her jewellery - Indian gold, dangling, filigree.[SB21] But it was stolen from our car.[SB22] The presents were radiant in my wardrobe[SB23]. My aunts requested cardigans from Marks and Spencers. [SB24] My salwar kameez[SB25] didn't impress the schoolfriend who sat on my bed, asked to see my weekend clothes.[SB26] But often I admired the mirror-work,[SB27] tried to glimpse myself in the miniature glass circles, recall the story how the three of us sailed to England.

    • Word count: 767
  5. Presents from my Aunt in Pakistan and Search for my Tongue comparison

    These two poems are laid out quiet differently, although they both use variable line length. In Presents from Pakistan the lines start all over the place and there is no certain point at which they have to start. In Search for My Tongue all the beginnings of the lines start at one place this is because the poem is left justified. This gives Search for My Tongues a stronger rhythm than it would have if it wasn't left justified, whereas Present from my Aunts in Pakistan gives us a feeling that she is confused and doesn't know where to start.

    • Word count: 1278
  6. Poetry From Other Cultures

    On the other hand the poem "Presents from my Aunt in Pakistan" is showing how she feels that she doesn't deserve to be in the clothes her Aunt has sent over to her, as it makes her feel uncomfortable because she "longed for denim and corduroy." Also the expectations that are upon her having to wear the clothes are leading her into that uncomfortable feeling she felt because it is making her feel pressured and embarrassed "...and I was aflame," because she is so used to the English cultured clothing rather than her Pakistan clothing that is to conspicuous and tight "My costume clung to me..."

    • Word count: 793
  7. aunts in pakistan

    But together the poems give a sense of incongruity and a feeling that you don't belong here. The poems also show your original culture is always there, and that it isn't completely lost, for example in "Search for my tongue" the poet is confident that the mother tongue is still with her and in "Presents from my Aunts in Pakistan" the poet shows your original culture can never be forgotten. The character in Moniza Alvi's poem is shown as a person "of no fixed nationality" and someone who lives in two worlds, whereas Sujata Bhatt shows someone of a fixed nationality who has two tongues.

    • Word count: 972
  8. Discussion of Arthur Millers' The Crucible.

    I could not use the name of his or her person and bring trouble upon them'. Basically if you associated with somebody that was accused of being a communists you would be prosecuted as well, they called this guilty by association. Miller retaliated against the government by writing 'the crucible' to open the governments eyes to the injustice that they were doing to innocent people and he did this by using witch craft as a metaphor for communism, so that the public and the government could see second hand what communism was doing to America.

    • Word count: 1151
  9. Compare the way in which two poets present a culture

    However, by the end, she is confident that it will always be part of who she is. "Presents from My Aunt in Pakistan" is about a girl who was born in Pakistan. She came to England when she was young. When she gets older she received gifts from her aunts in Pakistan. She gets various traditional Pakistani clothes. Whenever she thought about her nationality she did not feel whole. The poem was written to show how the girl felt when her friends saw her clothes.

    • Word count: 465
  10. Moniza Alvi Poem meaning

    Although Agard lived in England since 1978 his imagination is still deeply Caribbean. "Half-caste" is poem that challenges language .it challenges the term "half-caste" and asks the reader to think how the term can be offensive. Presents from my Aunts in Pakistan is a poem about a young girl of mixed race and the difficulty she finds with fitting in, or feeling apart of either the Pakistani or the English culture. The young girl in the poem is describing gifts that were sent to her in England from Pakistan. The presents from Pakistan are beautiful but the girl feels awkward wearing them, feeling that "denim and corduroy" would be more suitable.

    • Word count: 753
  11. Problems faced by the personas in the poems

    However, the way the persona is comparing the sari to a 'split' orange may be suggesting there is a hidden meaning to this comparison - the word 'split' perhaps indicating pain, showing how even though she likes it she feels a guilty pleasure by doing so. In contrast to this, she then states that the Pakistani clothes, however beautiful she finds them, feel alien to her and she even describes them as a 'costume'. By comparing them to a costume she is implying that she is wearing them as an act, and when she is honest with herself she knows she doesn't belong in those clothes.

    • Word count: 2438
  12. discuss the feelings in the poem my ants from pakistan

    Would we be unhappy or happy? This confused her about her split identity of half Asian, half British. There are a lot of different emotions in the poem. The girl feels confused about her nationalities. She says, 'my costume clung to me', when she tries on the salwar kameez she feels like it doesn't suit her. It's like wearing a costume. The girl feels embarrassed when her friend asks her to see her 'weekend clothes'. The structure of the poem is a free verse this means there is no set structure. This reflects the confusion about her identity.

    • Word count: 610
  13. comparison between presents from pakistan and blessings

    In some countries some people don't mind, they just live with a normal life style in their own world. In central Africa the majority of people live with a similar culture but they are differed because of the languages spoken. I am going to explore the elements of the poems, to see how they go along with cultures and how they give us an insight to other cultures. First of all the poem 'Blessing' is a poem that shows the feeling of someone seeing towns people suffer because there is no water for them near by. He describes what it is to be like there and how the people feel.

    • Word count: 1269
  14. Other Cultures Poems

    The bright colours suggest the clothes are burning: "I was aflame, I couldn't rise up out of its fire", a powerful metaphor for the discomfort felt by the girl, who "longed for denim and corduroy", plainer but comfortable and not noticeable. Also she notes that where her Pakistani Aunties can "rise up out of its fire" - that is, "look lovely" in the bright clothes - she felt unable to, because she was "half-English". This might mean because she is educated in England.

    • Word count: 1131
  15. People and culture

    The poem considers issues that are still relevant today such as the possibility of the loss of the culture and tradition in Afghanistan and Iraq due to the ongoing hostilities. The poem heavily romanticises the war and the Vietnamese people when saying things like 'life was in rice and bamboo.' This implies that the Vietnamese are simple folk, their lives are painted in a sympathetic portrait of a gentle, kind and humble race living and working in the paddy fields, which may be perceived as a patronising view of the Vietnamese people.

    • Word count: 1670
  16. Presents from my aunts in pakistan on context structure and imagery.

    Growing up Moniza always knew of her Pakistani roots, but still felt uncomfortable knowing that she was undecided on what her true identity was. As her father was Pakistan and her mother English, she was obviously not brought up in a religious way, and had been more brought up with her English roots by far than her Pakistan. Moniza still heard from her aunts in Pakistan, as they would send her gifts.

    • Word count: 521
  17. Comparison essay- on poems 'Presents from my Aunts in Pakistan' written by Moniza Alvi and 'Half-Caste' written by John Agard

    As we can see these colours are not ordinary colours for an average outfit, these clearly must have some kind of different background or an explanation behind them. The last line in the first stanza is 'for my teens' this clearly states that as she is a teenager she doesn't think that she should be wearing these cultural clothes. The second stanza is where she starts to show her real emotion, she feels uncomfortable and has mixed feeling about wearing these clothes as the second line is 'was an alien in the sitting room' telling us that she felt like some exotic creature in the sitting-room.

    • Word count: 1535
  18. presents from my aunts in pakistan How does the poet express her unresolved conflict of identity in the poem?

    She also receives a pair of black slippers laced with gold embroidery. A set of glass wristlets were given to Moniza but when she tried them on one snapped drawing blood from her wrists. The poet explains that like in the UK, fashions changed, the salwar bottoms she received were narrow, when they used to be broad and stiff. When she tries her new outfits on for the first time she feels out of the ordinary, an 'alien in the sitting-room' and doesn't think she suited the clothes. She feels that wearing the clothes in the British culture she has grown up to recognize would be inappropriate; although she was passionate about her new items of clothing she 'couldn't rise up out of its fire' being only half-Pakistani.

    • Word count: 850
  19. Analysis of the poem Presents from my Aunts in Pakistan

    The phrase "no fixed nationality" sums up the feelings of the poet, being "half-English" she struggles to feel comfortable with either culture. The poem explores this struggle. The "presents" referred to in the title are described in great detail in the opening sixteen lines. The variety of clothes and their colours and textured are recalled quite affectionately. Instead of being critical of the clothes, the poet respects her aunts' attempt at keeping up with fashions of the time: the salwar bottoms are appropriately "narrow".

    • Word count: 928
  20. Through my essay I attempt to explore three poems about nostalgia by three different poets. Theses three poems are "Half Past Two" by U.A. Fanthorpe, "An Unknown Girl" by Moniza Alvi and "Piano" by D. H. Lawrence.

    The poet is sensuous engaging our sense of sight with her vivid descriptions and graphic details of the "bazaar". She also engages our sense of hearing with her alliterations. She also engages our sense of touch as in "a wet brown line" and description of the girl's "satin-peach knee". The whole procedure of "hennaing" is described with vivid details. We are informed about how the girl was working and squeezing the line from "a nozzle", icing her hand. In the expression "which she steadies with hers on her satin peach knee" we have an alliteration adding soft but strange music to the poem.

    • Word count: 2016
  21. English Literature Poems

    The poem 'Hurricane' is rather similar in the way that it is again autobiographical. In the poem the writer is also in conflict with herself as she has left her motherland Guyana to move to England. At first the poet dreaded England but as soon as there was news of a Hurricane she began to feel much at home as hurricanes happen often in the southern equator. The writer shows her relationship with the hurricane by referring to it as her 'sweeping a back home cousin'.

    • Word count: 1166
  22. Compare the way in which the poet presents the people in 'Night of the Scorpion' and 'Presents from my Aunt in Pakistan'

    Ezekiel's tone of voice aided the identification of his frustration towards the neighbours, which presented itself through repetition stating "more candles, more lanterns, more neighbours..." Deeper analysis provided evidence suggesting that the children of this particular culture do not share concurring beliefs regarding the scorpion to that of the adults. The children do not portray the scorpion as a villain; however perceive the invertebrate's sting as a mere caution for the mother as she advanced towards its hiding place. In contrast, the adults refer to the scorpion as "the evil one" displaying signs of little understanding as to why the scorpion took such drastic actions.

    • Word count: 1971
  23. How can the arrival of something from another culture challenge someone's thinking? Discuss this with references of 'Presents from my Aunts in Pakistan.

    She feels let down by how it is important to be able to fit in. The arrival of the presents brings Alvi to imagine and to have a flash back, to see her grandmother and Aunt in 'Shaded rooms'. Alvi uses bright colours to describe the gifts from her Aunts, 'glistening like an orange split open'. This describes the 'Salwar kameez' given to her. The colours and imagery give the reader a sense of splendour in contrast with the plain 'cardigans from Marks and Spencers'.

    • Word count: 596
  24. Media Assignment

    Although the father of the family is from Pakistan, his name has been anglicised into an English name. This is probably so that he fits in more with his new home and can be classified by other people as part of the English community. George also has another wife who lives in Pakistan. This would be unacceptable in England and would definitely be illegal but in the Moslem religion it is perfectly acceptable to have up to seven wives! The children of the family are of mixed race.

    • Word count: 2021
  25. How do Moniza Alvi and Grace Nichols convey their thoughts and feelings about living in England and having roots in another culture?

    This makes it more interesting as the pathetic fallacy gives you the feeling of the Caribbean climate. The cultural identity of Moniza Alvi's poems is her heritage and traditions. For instance, in 'Presents from my Aunts in Pakistan' she creates images of the Salwar Kameez using words like "peacock-blue", "glistening like an orange split open". Here she has used metaphor and simile to emphasis the beauty of the presents and makes it appealing to the eyes. I found reading 'The Fat Black Woman goes Shopping' a bit difficult because it is written in colloquial style. The constant use of "de" would sound much better if it is read with a Caribbean accent.

    • Word count: 1162

Conclusion analysis

Good conclusions usually refer back to the question or title and address it directly - for example by using key words from the title.
How well do you think these conclusions address the title or question? Answering these questions should help you find out.

  1. Do they use key words from the title or question?
  2. Do they answer the question directly?
  3. Can you work out the question or title just by reading the conclusion?
  • Compare the way in which the poet presents the people in 'Night of the Scorpion' and 'Presents from my Aunt in Pakistan'

    "In conclusion both poems had there own unique way of getting across there points, they both made the reader think extremely hard on matters such as different cultures and traditions. Night of the Scorpion was easier to understand even though the title was misleading, nevertheless Presents from my Aunts in Pakistan showed how hard it was to have been growing up in England and not knowing which culture, you fitted into. I have learned from Presents from my Aunts in Pakistan that it is important to know where come from, which I think Moniza Alvi was lacking as a child. From Night of the Scorpion I've learned that having faith can help you get through the most serious of problems even if there life threatening. Over all I think my favourite poem out of the two must be Night of the Scorpion, as I think it has an excellent morel and gets it across really well. I also like Night of the Scorpion because it make's you think about the poem long after you have read it!"

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