Moving Between Different Cultures in Poetry
For my essay I will be looking at two poems which deal with the
experience of moving between different cultures, these are Half-Caste
and Search for My Tongue. These poems are written from experience.
John Agard the author of Half-Caste was born in Gugana and moved to
Britain in 1977. He is half-caste himself and his poem expresses his
feelings about the term half-caste.
Sujata Bhatt the authoress of Search for My Tongue was born in India
in 1956, her family moved to the United States of America in the
1960's and she now lives in Germany. In her poem Search for My Tongue
she explains how she feels about having two different languages her
birth language, Gujerati and her second language, German.
Half-Caste and Search for My Tongue, create very vivid images, which
makes it easier for the reader to interpret and understand both the
poems and the authors' opinion on the different cultures.
Half- Caste creates many images, by using descriptive language and
humour. It creates such images as a man, 'standing on leg' and having
'half mih ear' because he is only half-caste so he only has half what
a normal person would have but it also creates images about objects
'mix a red an green is a half-caste canvas' and even music 'mix a
black key wid a white key is a half-caste symphony'. This helps the
reader to understand how the author is feeling about the term
half-caste, and can also come to a conclusion about the term
themselves. All the imagery in this poem makes the reader think about
how anybody who has ever been called half-caste feels.
Search for My Tongue creates a very vivid image using very descriptive
metaphors, 'it grows back, a stump of a shoot, grows longer, grows
moist, grows strong veins', and it starts becoming stronger and
stronger until 'it ties the other tongue in knots'. The language used
by the author here is very descriptive and creates a very powerful
image which enables the reader to understand that the author's mother
tongue, her birth language is still strong and perhaps even stronger
than her second tongue, the language she most uses. The images are
also very powerful because the author uses metaphors instead of
similes which make the reader feel as though it is very realistic and
can almost image two tongues fighting.
The structures of the two poems are quite similar but Search for My
Tongue has only one stanza and Half-Caste has five stanzas. Another
difference is that Search for My Tongue uses two different languages,
however Half-Caste is also distinctive because of the language and
accent used, 'explain yuself', and the way it is paragraphed because
there is a very short paragraph at the beginning, a...