Comparing Nothing's Changed and Half-Caste
Half-Caste and Nothing's Changed are two poems that, despite having
different subjects, are full of similarities. Both Half-Caste and
Nothing's Changed express anger. Although, the object of their anger
is different. The anger in Half-Caste is directed at language, or more
specifically the use of one phrase while the anger in Nothing's
Changed is towards a culture. In Half-Caste Caribbean dialect is used.
Nothing's Changed is written in standard English. However, both
writers chose to use free verse meaning that neither poem follows
specific rules or patterns.
In Half-Caste the poem is written from the writer's viewpoint. Which
means the reader is able to see the writer's personal feelings about
the term half-caste. The opening line, "Excuse me" shows that the poem
is written from the writer's point of view as excuse me is a phrase
used by someone when they want to start a conversation. I feel that if
the poem was written from another person's viewpoint it would lose
some of it's effect. The emotion in the poem would come across less
strongly and seem less real, as it wouldn't be certain whether the
writer actually feels the anger expressed in the poem or just thinks
that people might feel that way. Half-Caste is written as a
conversation and therefore is in first person. You can see that the
poem is a conversation in lines such as line 33 where it says, "Ah
listening to yu..." and line 47, "...yu must come back tomorrow." Both
of these lines show that the poet is talking to another person. I
think this is good as it is original. I also think it makes the poem
more personal to you as you read it and so, perhaps, makes you think
more about what Agard is saying.
Nothing's Changed is written in first-person perspective, however it
is not an actual experience of the writer, but more of a story
describing an event which may have happened. Nothing's Changed does
show feelings though.
There is a lot of anger in the poem Half-Caste. That anger is directed
at the term half-caste but also at those people who use the term to
describe people of mixed race. This anger is emphasized by short lines
such as, "Explain yuself," which shows the poet just wants to get
straight to the point, as many people do when they are angry.
Repetition of the phrase, "yu mean" also shows his anger. The sarcasm
in the poem, e.g. "I'm sure you'll understand, Why I offer you
half-a-hand," is another way Agard accentuates the anger he feels.
Agard uses examples to justify his anger at being called half-caste.
One of these is comparing a symphony written by Tchaikovsky (using
black and white piano keys) to person of mixed race, "Is a half-caste
symphony?" as obviously it is a ridiculous thought that we would call
a symphony a "half-symphony" just because it mixes two different
coloured keys so, Agard is asking, why should a person of two
different races be called half-caste? Another point...