Two poems from different cultures-'Two Scavengers in a Truck, Two beautiful People in Mercedes'and 'Nothings Changed'.

Authors Avatar

Compare and contrast of two poems from different cultures-

‘Two Scavengers in a Truck, Two beautiful People in Mercedes’

and ‘Nothings Changed’.

        ‘Two Scavengers in a Truck, Two Beautiful People in Mercedes’ by Lawrence Ferlinghetti, is a poem about four very different people brought together by traffic lights turning red.  The poet is protesting against the inequalities within a democracy.  ‘Nothings Changed’ by Tatamkhulu Afrika, is a poem which is also protesting, but about the way black people are treated in a place where the poet used to live, in District Six, in South Africa, where apartheid took place.

        In the poem ‘Two Scavengers in a Truck, Two Beautiful People in Mercedes’, the poet compares four people.  The four people are brought together by the traffic light turning red.  The poem is set in downtown San Francisco at 9 O’clock in the morning.

        First he describes the two garbage men in their truck. He compares them with a very elegant couple in their Mercedes, who have a very different lifestyle.

        The poet describes the two garbage men as-

‘two scavengers up since four a.m.

                                grungy from their route’

This phrase creates the image of vultures swooping around San Francisco early while everyone is asleep, because vultures are often described as scavengers.  The word ‘grungy’ also makes it clear to the reader that the garbage men are dirty and grubby.  The writer tells us that the garbage men have been up since four a.m.   This tells us that they are hard workers.  In contrast, the poet describes the couple in the Mercedes as-

‘The man

 in a hip three piece linen suit

with shoulder length blond hair and sunglasses’

The young woman so casually coifed

with a short skirt and coloured stockings

on the way the way to his architect’s office’.

This description creates the image of a couple who have a very laid-back lifestyle and are cool but without effort.  The poet describes the woman as ‘casually coifed’. These are two contrasting ideas; it creates the idea that the woman is looking very casual, although she also looks very neat.  It also suggests that she has spent a lot of time and money trying to achieve this look. The poet describes the mans clothes as ‘a hip three piece linen suit’. This makes the reader imagine a smartly dressed man, who also looks very cool, again without effort.  The couple are described as going to his artchitect’s office.

Join now!

This suggests that the man is an architect and owns his own office. It is possible that the woman works there too.  The fact that he is an artchitect suggests that the couple are very well off and probably have a very elaborate lifestyle.

        The poet describes the four people brought together by the tracffic lights-

‘And the very red light for an instant

holding all four close together

as if anything were possible

between them’

This suggests that because they are all at the traffic lights together anything could happen and that the four people ...

This is a preview of the whole essay