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Comparing poems from different cultures.

Many poems deal with the theme of cultural identity. I have chosenthree to compare, they are:

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Search For My Tongue, by Sujata Bhatt

Half-Caste, by John Agard and

Presents from my Aunts in Pakistan, by Moniza Alvi.

I chose these three poems because I feel that they all deal withdifferent aspects of cultural identity. For example Search for mytongue covers the aspect of losing your native tongue and using a‘foreign’ language, Half-Caste addresses the point of racism andstereotyping, whilst Presents from my Aunts in Pakistan highlights theissues of alienation and not being able to fit in with either side ofyour family.

Search For My Tongue is quite unusual as instead of the text being inone language all the way through it starts in English and then changesinto Arabic part of the way through. This leaves the reader with afeeling of disorientation and that the reader, unless bilingual inthose two languages, can not read or make sense of the foreignlanguage.

This poem also relays to you the fact that even if you’ve forgottenyour mother tongue and don’t speak it for some time it will alwayscome back and blossom if it is used enough. The poet also puts thepoint across by repeating the word tongue over and over again. Theforeign tongue can never take the place of the mother tongue, becauseit is part of your own identity. The passage

‘….but over night while I dream it grows back..’

gives the impression that although you may speak in the foreignlanguage most of the time you still dream in your native tongue and itwill never go away.

The poem ‘Half Cast’ also deals with the aspects of a differentlanguage but instead of writing in a …

…e to fit in with either side of their family. For example when herAunts bring the Candy-striped glass bangles they snapped and made herwrists bleed, this is because people from Asia are very small boned,so because of her being mixed race she was not able to put then. Alsoit says that her school friends where not impressed by her Salwarkameez, they wanted to see weekend clothes and where not interested inthe mirror work or the story how three of them sailed toto England.

I find all of these poems very interesting and thought provoking. Myfavourite out of these three is half-caste because it give such astrong point and all the examples make sense. Where we live therearen’t many people from different cultures, so we don’t face racismand people from mixed race that often. These poems make you see thepoints of view and traditions of other cultures.

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