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GCSE: Moniza Alvi: Presents from my Aunts in Pakistan

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  1. Peer reviewed

    .Presents from my Aunts in Pakistan by Moniza Alvi

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    '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. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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

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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