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GCSE: Sujata Bhatt: from Search For My Tongue

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  1. Peer reviewed

    How does Sujata Bhatt show that identity is important in Serch for my tongue? Compare the methods she uses with another poet uses to show that identity is important in one other poem.

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    For this reason I think her poem should be read mournfully, because there is a feeling of loss of herself and who she is. Whereas in Tom Leonard's poem, "Unrelated incidents" he explains the difference in his Scottish accent and the traditional BBC news reader voice. This poem is in a phonic form to show how the words should be pronounced in a Scottish accent, I believe this is to add to effect of his accent and strange adaptation to the standard English, he uses very little punctuation and has shaped the poem to an unusual shape, alike the abnormal accent of the narrator of this poem.

    • Word count: 1042
  2. Show How The Poets Sense Of Cultural Identities Is Explored In Two Of The Poems You Have Studied

    In an interview, she says:" I have always thought of myself as an Indian who is outside India." Her mother tongue is for her an important link to her family, and to her childhood: "That's the deepest layer of my identity." Moniza Alvi was born in Lahore in Pakistan, the daughter of a Pakistani father and an English mother. She moved to Hatfield in England when she was a few months old. She didn't revisit Pakistan until after the publication of her first book of poems "The Country over my Shoulder" from which this poem comes.

    • Word count: 1315
  3. Comparing ""Search for my tongue" and "Unrelated incidents"

    The poet has expressed confusion through the Denranagari script in the middle of the poem. Here, the reader is confused as to why this language is written. The reader is put in the poets shoes and feels the poets' emotions. This relates to the two different cultures in the poem; Bhatt also shows that language is a part of her, "it blossoms out of my mouth" The tongue is described as a flower that has always been there. The metaphor signifies that the "mother tongue" is strong, as it is just as essential as the other "foreign tongue" Furthermore the identity of the poet is expressed through language.

    • Word count: 1016
  4. For many poets, English is a second language. Many poets feel trapped between two cultures. Choose 3 poems we have studied which show this.

    Her feelings towards her roots are strong and in the last few lines of the play we see how deep her roots go. The poem describes how her new language has starved her old one and how she strives to be able to speak as fluently as before. She seems to almost feel hate towards the new language that has starved her much loved mother tongue. She uses blunt sensual expressions to describe her emotional turmoil which shows how much her mother tongue means to her.

    • Word count: 1323
  5. Not My Business is written by Niyi Osundare a Nigerian man whose first language or mother tongue is English. In my perspective, the basic plot of the poem portrays the struggles of living in a country where the dictating government

    The Jeep was waiting on my bewildered lawn Waiting, waiting in its usual silence. Niyi Osundare Stephen (subject): Not My Business is written by Niyi Osundare a Nigerian man whose first language or mother tongue is English. In my perspective, the basic plot of the poem portrays the struggles of living in a country where the dictating government unfairly persecute those who don't support them. The evidence to support this is the fact that the kidnappers seem to use a jeep, which could be associated with the army, also the poet refers to them as 'they' which makes them seem a large powerful group.

    • Word count: 1104
  6. Comparing 'Search for my tongue' with 'Presents from my aunt in Pakistan' Search for my tongue and Presents from my aunt in Pakistan are two poems that explore

    In the first stanza the beautiful clothing and strong visual continue but this beauty also has a dangerous side because the bangles she receives snap and cut her giving a slight sense of confusion which builds up slowly throughout the poem. In stanza two it is obvious that the clothing is not what she wants. She fells that it doesn't suit her that it is gorgeous but also to simple for instance 'alien in the sitting in the room' (line 17).

    • Word count: 1358
  7. When making a comparison between the two poems, 'Search For My Tongue' by Sujata Bhatt and 'Ogun' by Edward Kamau Brathwaite we can see that both are primarily concerned with notions of culture and identity and in particular how one impacts

    She feels that the first will be lost or replaced by the second, which she refers to as "the foreign tongue" which you can not really know. This idea that the second tongue is one that 'you could not really know', implies further that language is about more than words, but that it encompasses a whole range of meanings connected with the culture from which it is derived and that even though she has mastered the language, she feels as though the meanings and underlying culture will always be alien to her.

    • Word count: 1202
  8. With close reference Search for my tongue written by Sujata Bhatt, and Still I rise by Maya Angelou both explore the effective

    It's strong, yet upbeat bouncy feel cries to be read out aloud which also reflects her powerful, independent personality. Her defiance immediately starts to shine from the first stanza. After all the negativity, "...bitter, twisted lies", "...trod me in the very dirt" she will still get up and rise against it all, not letting anyone control her. From such a negative stanza she moves on to an energetic tone in stanza three. She uses nature "Just like moons and like stars" to bring out a buoyant optimistic tone; by using the certainty of nature she is conveying the message that no one will break her and she will always be strong.

    • Word count: 1278
  9. Unrelated Incidents' by Tom Leonard and 'Search for my Tongue' by Sujata Bhatt are two poems that give people an

    When first looking at 'Unrelated Incidents' it is difficult to read because of the spellings of the words. The poem is written phonetically and not in Standard English. Tom Leonard says in line 27-30 'this is me token yir right way a spellin.' Leonard also uses colloquial which is slang he uses it in the last line with 'belt up' he does this to mock the way the news is read because of the poem being written as if it were the six clock news. This is different to 'Search for my Tongue' because Sujata Bhatt for 15 lines writes in English but then from line 16-29 writes in Gujarati which is her mother language, beneath this it also tells the reader how to read this language (which is spelt phonetically).

    • Word count: 1234
  10. Sujata Bhatt has two main culturalidentities Indian and English, which are represented by her use of language.Her 'mother tongue' is Gujerati, and her English voice, an adopted, becomes a'foreign voice'. This is the conflict between cultural identit...

    The echoing answer is always 'NO'. These poems can be linked as protest poems, poems that raise and to a degree complain about issues related to their cultural origins, but which could be universalised. Sujata Bhatt was born in India in 1956. Her family moved to America in the 1960s and she now lives in India. She writes in both English and Gujerati, her mother tongue. This poem is part of a much longer poem which explores these ideas in detail The poet describes the experience of living in a foreign country and speaking in a language which is not the mother tongue.

    • Word count: 1235
  11. Discuss the ways in which culture and identity are presented in 'search for my tongue' and 'presents from my aunts in Pakistan'

    It is written as a reply to a question and the word tongue is used as a conventional metaphor for language. Next she says "I ask you, what would you do if you had two tongues in your mouth" the word 'tongues' re-awakens the metaphor by making us aware of its physical sense. Sujata Bhatt then repeats the words 'tongue' and 'could' several times in the next section, this shows uncertainty. Among this she includes some ideas of the tongue turning more organic, with the idea, "your mother tongue would rot, rot and die in your mouth".

    • Word count: 1745
  12. A Comparison of 'Sonnet 17' by William Shakespeare And 'The Writer' by Sujata Bhatt

    Where as Sujata Bhatt is of Asian origin, which may influence her take on writing. She was born in Ahmedabad, India in 1956. This means the backgrounds of both writers are very different, as Shakespeare lived in the UK and Sujata lived in India. Also the poems were written in very different periods of time. When Shakespeare wrote 'Sonnet 17', Elizabeth I ruled England - the Elizabethan Age. Bhatt wrote her poem in India, completely different time periods and ways of living. Both poets' fell very frustrated about writing but have very different reasons for feeling so.

    • Word count: 1266
  13. Write About How Sujata Bhatt and Moniza Alvi convey their views on different cultures in 'Presents From My Aunts In Pakistan' and 'Search For My Tongue'

    She realises that not speaking a language does not mean that you have lost your cultural identity. In 'Search for my Tongue' I think that Sujata Bhatt does not like having to belong to two cultures. The line ' if you lived in a place you had to speak a foreign tongue' reinforces this point. The words 'had to' suggest the fact that she is being forced to speak German when she really wants to speak Gujarati. This implies the fact that she does not want to have to speak German but feels she has no other choice and would much rather be speaking Gujarati.

    • Word count: 1617
  14. Compare Search For My Tongue by Sujata Bhatt, Hurricane Hits England by Grace Nichols and Presents from Aunts in Pakistan by Moniza Alzi.

    In 'Search for My Tongue', Sujata Bhatt compares the growth of her tongue to a flower growing, describing it as "a stump of a shoot" and "the bud opens". This use of imagery makes the re-growth of the mother tongue seem mysterious and beautiful, as well as portraying how the tongue grows back, thus likening it to the development of a flower. Moniza Alvi also uses imagery to make the presents from Pakistan seem exotic and interesting. In 'Presents from my Aunts in Pakistan', she describes the salwar kameez she received as "glistening like an orange split open", which relates it to something beautiful and metaphorical.

    • Word count: 1285
  15. Choose two poems, where the writer reveals strong feelings about their culture or tradition.

    Panic because she has a worry about losing the ability in speaking her mother tongue: 'if you had two tongues in your mouth, and lost the first one, the mother tongue,' Here the audience is given a negative imagery of the poet. In the first section of this poem, the poet shows the importance of her Gujarati culture and the fear of losing her mother tongue, which to her means losing her identity: she says; 'And if you lived in a place yu had to speak a foreign tongue, your mother tongue would rot, rot and die in your mouth'

    • Word count: 1498
  16. Compare the two poems, 'Presents from my aunts in Pakistan' and 'Search for my tongue' - Both poems shows people thinking about their roots and how each poem conveys their thoughts and feelings.

    She describes how it feels like wearing the 'salwar kameez' and how she longed for denim and corduroy. She's drawn to the loveliness of the gifts but feels awkward wearing them because she is more comfortable in English clothes. The poem is full of associated, sometimes contrasting images. An example of a contrasting image is '... of no fixed nationality staring through fretwork in the Shalimar gardens.' Fretwork is basically decorative carving and the Shalimar gardens is an ornamental ark in Lahore, her hometown. The girl describes how life in England differs from life in Pakistan. She talks about the salwar kameez as 'alien' but wanting cardigans from Marks and Spencer's.

    • Word count: 1034
  17. Looking at both "Presents From My Aunts In Pakistan" and "Search For My Tongue", there is a similarity between the poems because both poets have a shared experience of living between two cultures and these experiences led to the writing of the two poems.

    are two salwar kameez which are both bright and colourful, embossed slippers which are gold and black which shows signs of richness and wealth, an apple green sari which was silver bordered which shows freshness and how beautiful the clothes were. She also got delicate jewellery and "Candy-striped glass bangles, snapped, drew blood." They hurt her, which shows Pakistan culture is painful to her. She describes her feelings towards the clothes "I tried each satin-silken top- was alien in the sitting room.

    • Word count: 1687
  18. Exploring how the poets convey a sense of alienation from society trough their poems.

    This line also suggest to me that the poet accuses the reader to make the reader feel the same way as the poet do, to have two tongues and having problems to maintain them. The first stanza of the poem is telling us that the poet is trying to search or remember her mother tongue. This fits its title 'Search for My Tongue', searching for her mother tongue, which then she found in the second and third stanzas. She include her mother tongue lines to show to the reader that she has finally found her mother tongue thus making her not feel alienated from her own society any more.

    • Word count: 1132
  19. ‘Presents from my Aunts in Pakistan’ and‘Search for my Tongue’ both show people thinking about their roots - How does each poet convey her thoughts and feelings?

    There are quite a few similarities between the two poems. Both of the poems are about race, identify and roots. Sujata Bhatt does this in her poem by looking as language where as Moniza Alvi does this by associating race and identity with material things. The two poems are both autobiographical and written in first person. The shape of 'Presents my Aunts sent from Pakistan' is unfixed along one side, there are seven stanzas and they are in free verse. Moniza has done this to emphasise how her thoughts are unfixed between the two cultures.

    • Word count: 1042
  20. Discuss the feeling of displacement in Islandman.

    There are also contrasts in both poems, which illustrate the poet's point more so. The opening five lines of both poems make interesting reading. Island Man starts off with a very majestic and idyllic scene, with the waves lapping against the shore. It is in these first few lines that our island man shows a feeling of displacement, just in the environment he is in. The first stanza goes as follows:- '....wakes up to the sound of blue surf in his head the steady breaking and wombing....'

    • Word count: 1115
  21. Looking at the two poems, 'Search for My tongue' and 'Presents from my Aunts in Pakistan'; discuss the way culture is presented.

    She mentions in a BBC interview her poem is autobiographical and reflects her growing up. At the start of the poem there is a strong sense of image, which helps to build up a feeling of adoration and beauty. We first see the idea of culture of culture in this poem in the clothing from Pakistan, which shows a rich sense of colour and beauty. When these clothes are later compared to with the ' cardigans from Marks and Spencers' it is easy to see how one culture appears to 'splash out' with colour in the various items of clothing, like the Salwar Kameez (loose trousers and a tunic, woven and worn traditionally by women).

    • Word count: 1571
  22. 'Half-caste' 'search for my tongue' and 'blessing' all show people who are outsiders - How does each poet convey their thoughts and feelings?

    The point he is trying to make to the reader is - is someone who is called a half-caste only half a person? The point of the poem is to try and get the reader to be a bit more open-minded. He deliberately uses very well known people; geniuses even, as examples to make his point. The poet uses colloquial English and imperatives and starts the poem by using the phrase "excuse me." He does this to try and attract attention and to get people to listen.

    • Word count: 1098
  23. For many poets, writing in English, English is a second language. Many poets feel trapped between two cultures. Choose poems from this selection which show this and write about them as fully as you can - Nothings changed

    In Unrelated incidents, Tom Leonard was born in Glasgow, and has continued to live there. He has described his childhood upbringing as 'working class West of Scotland Irish Catholic' (his father was from Dublin). Although his passport identifies him as a 'British' citizen, Tom Leonard sees himself as thoroughly Scottish. Almost all his poetry is written in his own Glasgow dialect. His aim has always been to make poetry using 'my own ordinary working-class West of Scotland speech that is still poetry'. He says he is interested in 'the political nature of voice in British culture'.

    • Word count: 1331
  24. Presents from my Aunts in Pakistan and Search for my tongue both show people thinking about their 'roots'. How does each poem convey their thoughts and feelings?

    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: 1095
  25. The Use of Imagery in Search for my Tongue and Blessing

    This shows that the poet feels very strongly about loosing her original language. In the second section, which is written in Gujerati, it seems to be more poetic and flows better when reading it. The last section is describing how her first language the Gujerati has come back to her and describes it as how a flower would grow and blossom. The poem Blessing is about how in a very dry and hot country where it hardly ever rains, where they imagine the smallest amount of water crashing into a tin mug the water pipe which runs through the village bursts and all the people rush towards it with every pot and pan they can carry.

    • Word count: 1055

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?

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