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Comparative essay between two poems namely, Half – Caste by JohnAgard and Unrelated Incidents by Tom Leonard.

John Agard and Unrelated Incidents by Tom Leonard.

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You can clearly see before you begin to read these poems that they areset out differently to your average poem. For example in UnrelatedIncidents that there are no more than four words per poem. Thepunctuation in Unrelated Incidents is based on the phanetic way ofspelling, this means that you spell the way speak and pronounce words.The poems is also meant to be spoken in a Glaswegian accent. In Half- Caste it’s spelt and meant to be spoken in a Caribbean Patois.

In both poems they’re defending the way that they are (The colour ofhis skin in Half – Caste and his accent in Unrelated Incidents). InHalf – Caste he defends himself by saying that you don’t discriminateagainst a Picasso painting or a Tchaikovsky symphony because they’rehalf – caste, but in Unrelated Incidents his defence is slightlydifference claiming that there are never any over news readers apartfrom ones with posh and standard English accents.

Unrelated Incidents

Tom Leonard was born in Glasgow. He has described his childhoodupbringing as ‘working class West of Scotland Irish Catholic’ (hisfather was from Dublin). Although his passport identifies him as a’British’ citizen, Tom Leonard sees himself as thoroughly Scottish.

Unrelated incidents, the poem. Is set out as if it was being read offa television autocue. There is very little punctuation and the wordsare spelt phonetically. The way that this poem is written, it iswritten like this because the poem is about BBC newsreaders. Its laidout as if it was being read on the 6 o’clock news.

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…because he mixed a variety of colours in hispaintings? Should the English weather be scorned because it is full ofsun and darkness? Should Tchaikovsky’s music be seen as inferiorbecause he used both the black notes and the white notes on the piano?Is someone who is called a ‘half caste’ only half a person? John Agardasks the reader to begin to think in a more open-minded way.

The poem is set out is a peculiar way as it only contains a maximum of8 words per line. Also this poem contains no punctuation at all. Ithink that this is put in to create an impact on the reader. He hasalso spelt his words the way as he would speak them. It’s a way ofphonetic speaking.

Overall both poems are tying to prove the same point, that they arediscriminated because of who they are. John Agard for being half -cast and Tom Leonard because of his Scottish accent.

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