Comparing And Contrasting 'we Are The Cherokee' And 'first They Said'

2969 words - 12 pages

In this essay I will be comparing and contrasting the two poems about racial attitudes people have towards indigenous tribes; and analysing the poet’s choice of poetic techniques.First of all I’m going to be talking about the poem ‘We are the Cherokee’ by Benjamin Zephaniah. The poem’s title gives you a very big insight into what the poem will be about, ‘We are the Cherokee’ put you down the train of thought that the poem will be talking about the Native American Indian tribe the Cherokee. This poem is a very powerful poem that talks about the white man invading America. Of course we are reading the information from the Native Americans point of view so the information cannot be trusted completely.However, in this day and age we can see both sides of the story by living in U.K. society. Ben Zephaniah plays a big part in peace making between black and Asian, and white communities in the U.K. He even refused a knighthood from the queen her self because of England’s colonial past and the current situation.Benjamin Zephaniah’s full name is Benjamin Obadiah Ipbal Zephaniah which is Christian Jewish and Muslim he obviously then is a man caught between a few cultures. He obviously is a very educate man as he had finished full time education by the age of thirteen. At the age of twenty two Benjamin published his first book Pen Rhythm, in an act to try to reach more people, his mission was to take poetry every where. His poems most of the time tries to have an aspect of humour but will always have serious message e.e. racism, animal rights, pollution and males and females being treated equally, and war. Benjamin has travelled around the world many times. He is very fond of Africa and Asia.There are sixteen stanzas in this poem. Stanzas one and twelve are made up of three lines. Stanzas two, three, six, eight, and fourteen consist of 5 lines, making up the majority of the poem. Stanzas four, ten and thirteen, on the other hand have four lines still making these stanzas short. The seventh stanza has only two lines the second shortest in the poem. The longest stanza in the poem is stanza nine having nine lines. Stanza twelve has three lines and stanza 15 has seven. The shortest stanzas in the poem are stanzas five, eleven, and sixteen which are made of only one line this is the repletion of the word “we are the Cherokee”There is no rhyme scheme, which makes this a free verse poem. I think this has been done to reflect the Native American’s way of life, having no rules, being free. The poem is not caged up by a certain rhyme scheme that it has to follow, or structure, which is like the Cherokee’s way of life before the white man invaded, they had their own rules to follow; they were free from what the white man thought was right and wrong much like this poem is free from traditional poetic structure.Every stanza is short, and made up of one sentence split into various lines and has one point to...

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