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The Difficulties Of Living In A Different Culture Presented in Tom Leonard’s Unrelated Incidents and John Agard’s Half-CasteIn the two poems ‘Unrelated Incidents’ by Tom Leonard and ‘Half-Caste’by John Agard the obvious connection is the language is writtenphonetically to emphasise the dialect and contrast in culture to thereal English language. In order to convey their opinions on theprejudices they face they take an almost humorous approach to ridiculetheir opposers.

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Both the poets’ use of punctuation means that when spoken aloud thereis an aggressive tone as in ‘Unrelated Incidents’ there are no capitalletters, this emphasises the ‘wrongness’ of his dialect. He pokes funat the way people would presume that news given by someone who doesn’tspeak with a ‘voice of authority’ is lying, it is clearly wrong and heshuns this assumption:

‘n thi reason I talk wia BBC accent iz coz yi widny wahnt mi ti talkaboot thi trooth wia voice lik wanna yoo scruff.’

As the poem progresses the language becomes more and moredialect-like, this is to make it seem as though the poet istranslating the ‘BBC accent’ into his own way of speaking. The wordsrun together to convey the characteristics of colloquial language.

Te poet ends the poem with ‘belt up.’ It seems that either he isdisinterested with anyone who labels him because of their accent orhe’s directly telling them to shut up. The poet is proud of hisheritage and this is an exhibition of this as his boldness andaggressiveness builds up.

Tom Leonard uses the word ‘scruff’ which suggests a lack ofcredibility and an unsavoury type of person, this idea of prejudice isalso shown in John Agard’s poem ‘Half-Caste’. He is highlighting thestupidity of those who use the derogatory term as if the person isonly half and therefore isn’t a whole person. In the same way thatLeonard uses humour Agard suggests that simple things such as a pianoare half-caste because of the different coloured keys.

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