Half Caste written by John Agard and Nothing's Changed written by Tatamkhulu Afrika, both explore the portrayal of racism

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Vimal 01/05/2007

Question: How is racism portrayed in ‘Half Caste’ and ‘Nothing’s Changed?’

        Half Caste written by John Agard and Nothing’s Changed written by Tatamkhulu Afrika, both explore the portrayal of racism.  John Agard uses irony and satire to show emphasis and ridicules the social stigmata towards half-caste.   Afrika uses his poem to illustrate the diverse conditions of two social cultures within his society.

        John Agard uses a unique structure.  He uses the structure of his poem to add dramatic importance to what he says.  The first and last stanzas are both three lined and isolated from the poem.  This is added to emphasize him isolation in society.  Nothing’s Changed is written in seven stanzas, one of which is considerably smaller, ‘no sign says it is: but we know where we belong.’  This emphasizes his anger and feelings towards his position in society.  

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        Nothing’s Changed is written in an angry tone, with emotional words such as, ‘shiver down the glass’ to create a sense of depression.  Monosyllabic words in the direct stanza are used to create a sense of anger and perhaps slow the poem down for dramatic effect.  Half Caste is also written in an angry tone.  The uses of derogatory term such as, ’ah rass,’ are used to emphasize his attitude towards the ignorant people in society.  

        Half Caste uses a sense of rhyme in bits of the poem.  The rhymes are in rhyming couplet form, ‘wha yu mean, Ah ...

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*** 3 stars. This has the potential to be a very good essay. The writer clearly understands the poems and the messages the poets are conveying. There are some insightful comments about structure, language, rhyme and rhythm. More quotes are needed to highlight these statements. The writer at times makes some interesting points which need further exploration and textual referencing.