The poems No Problem written by Benjamin Zephania and Half-Caste written by John Aguard illustrate strong feelings towards race

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How do the poets present the theme of Change in the poems Half-Caste and No Problem?

The poems No Problem written by Benjamin Zephania and Half-Caste written by John Aguard illustrate strong feelings towards race. The poets are writing about their feelings towards their life. Looking at them we can empathise with them and their plight. Comparing them allows us to experience their pain. Looking at the way they were written provides us with insight to those who suffer from racism.

In the poem No Problem Benjamin Zephaniah who is from Jamaica tells of how bad life was in England, but even after all of this he still doesn’t hold any grudges himself. In this poem he uses slang words not proper English this emphasises that he is not from England and that he feels he is an outsider. “Silly playground taunts, an racist stunts” this also tells me that he was not welcome in the society in which he lived. It also shows that even from a young age when he was still at school he was racially abused and that people ridiculed him because of his race. The racist stunts imply that he was victimised for being different from other people and as he moved to England in the 1980’s when there was a lot of riots between black people and the police this would have been a great change to the laid back lifestyle of Jamaica where most people in the neighbourhood knew everyone else. Then moving to England would have been a huge shock because in England it is totally different where people hardly know the name of their next door neighbours.

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In the poem half – caste John Agard writes about how the term half caste is used he starts off by using it in the usual context which makes it seem like it is bad to be a half caste “ when I’m introduced to yu I’m sure you’ll understand why I offer yu half a hand” this shows me that he is treated as less than a whole person because of it and that he is being sarcastic. When people call him a half caste he does everything by half so offers half a hand to shake and ...

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There are strengths in this essay. The student has clearly engaged with both poems, and has begun to offer interpretation into what the writers were hoping to achieve. However, the focus of the essay was to discuss how change is presented and this was not covered sufficiently. There was a lack of language analysis in the Zephaniah poem and the points made in the Agard poem were lacking in depth. The student would be better served to make fewer points but those made should be explored in greater detail. 3 stars