Compare and contrast the ways In which Grace Nichols represents The
theme of slavery in her poems I coming back and sugar cane.
The two poems written by Grace Nichols are similar because both of
them are about slavery. But they are very different in some ways like
"I coming back" is about getting revenge and "sugar cane" is about the
suffering of slaves. The styles of the poems are different from each
other. This essay will try to explore these poems similarities and
The two poems content is different but their subject is the same.
The subject is about slavery but they are written in different ways.
"I coming back" is about a slave woman who want's to take revenge on
her master while she is living and, when she Is dead by the help of
her spirit or ghost. She wants to terrorise her master while she is
living and haunt him with her spirit or ghost when she is dead. She is
shown as a powerful figure that wants to take revenge on her master
for treating her as a slave and an animal. She is very threatening
against her master this is shown when she says
"Bone in yuh throat
And laugh in yuh skull
I coming back." (L: 17-19)
Only this sentence shows how threatening the poems could be. She has
used many threatening phrases another one could be
A skinless higue
I coming back." (L: 11-13)
She is very repetitive on saying "I coming back." This could mean she
is keen on getting revenge.
"Sugar cane" describes the slave as a weak harmless person. Also in
her poem she describes the kind of diseases the slave get and how. She
also describes the slave as a person who can't control his life and is
controlled by the master. In "sugar cane" the slave is shown as a weak
person as in the poem "I coming back" the slave is shown as a strong
and powerful figure. In the opening few verses of "sugar cane" Grace
Nichols describes the slaves as a sugar cane this is called
An example below will show the personification between a sugar cane
and a slave
"His waving arms
Is a sign for help." (L: 7-8)
Another example could be:
"He shiver like ague
When it rain." (L: 17-19)
You can see by the two examples given above, that she is describing
both the slave and the sugar cane.
You can see from what I have written above that the content of the
poem is different.
In the two poems "I coming back" and "sugar cane" have quite a lot of
imagery. "I coming back" has quite evil and revengeful imagery.
Like it says
"Dog howling outside
I coming back." (L: 8-10)
You can imagine by the example given above it is quite an evil
imagery. She tries to make us imagine how angry and revengeful the
slave is, she uses folk things in her poetry for example
"Skinless higue." (L: 12)
A skinless higue is a Guyanese folklore character: an old lady who
flies around at night...