We use cookies to give you the best experience possible. By continuing we’ll assume you’re on board with our cookie policy

Compare the two poems, Nothings changed by Tatamkhulu Afrika with Charlotte O’Neil’s song by Fiona Farrell

The whole doc is available only for registered users
  • Pages: 5
  • Word count: 1119
  • Category: Poems

A limited time offer! Get a custom sample essay written according to your requirements urgent 3h delivery guaranteed

Order Now

When comparing the poems, ‘Nothings changed’ and ‘Charlotte O’Neil’s song’ we see that they are set in different time periods and in different cultures. Charlotte O’Neil’s song is set in the 19th century whereas; the poem Nothings Changed is set in the 20th century. However, despite this they are both autobiographical accounts about the injustices and inequalities of their own respective cultures. In effect, both poets are protesting about their life.

The narrator of ‘Nothings Changed’ is a black peasant living in South Africa, and the narrator of ‘Charlotte O’Neil’s song is a maid serving a master in England. In ‘Nothings Changed’ the language of the poem is written in the present tense and although he is recalling the past, it is as if the poet is re-living the experience as he writes. Tatamkhulu is protesting about the differences in the way that black and white people are treated South Africa.

He begins the poem in a calm mood, his description of the way he walks down towards where he use to live, tells the narrator that he is relaxed and is taking a leisurely walk, “Small round hard stones click under my heels”, this statement reinforces what mood he is in as it is describing the way he walks. When he reaches the wasteland of where he used to live, district six we see that he is reliving the anger of what it used to be like when he lived here and his feelings of long ago start to build up again, “District six. No board says it: but my feet know… and the hot… Anger of my eyes”, here he talks about there being no sign to say the name of the area he is in, but he can feel it.

It seems that he does not have very good memories of this area, as he shows his feelings when he nears district six. The poet goes on to describe that there is a white’s only inn, I feel he uses quite harsh description but is shows his anger toward white people, he says, “Brash with glass, name flaring like a flag, it squats in the grass and the weeds, incipient Port Jackson trees… uard at the gate post, whites only inn”, there is a lot of personal description, as he uses the words ‘brash’ which suggests that there is a certain arrogance of the place. The name flaring like a flag is suggestive of the inn displaying its conquest of the area.

Simply, just by being there the narrator feels that the inn has committed a crime as it is a place where a coloured man would obviously not be welcome even in the absence of apartheid. The word ‘squats’ is not as though it were sitting, but as though it were occupying the land illegally. Incipient’ means imported, thus saying the trees from the local area are not good enough so they had to get imported trees.

The inn is also saying that to the narrator that it is too good for him and other coloured people in the area, it’s almost as if the inn has a bad attitude towards coloured people in the area, as would the white people do who built the inn and those who run it. Comparing it with Charlotte O’Neil’s song, it begins with comparing what it is like for her and she makes comparisons between the lives of how the rich live and how the poor live, “You lay on a silken pillow.

I lay on an attic cot. That’s the way it should be, you said” So she is saying that you are comfortable and I am not and it is similar to Nothings changed as there is a rich/poor divide where the poor are classes as lazy and worthless but as for the rich they were hardworking and they owned what they owned because of their hard work, but in reality it was the other way round, the rich were not hard working and the poor worked as hard as they could to get themselves out of there financial situation they were in.

We see that both narrators felt resentment for their oppressors, as looking at ‘Nothings changed’ it’s clear of the narrator’s feelings, “No sign says it: but we know where we belong. ” This line simply says that in every walk of life black and coloured people face racism in all walks of life. Further on the narrator makes his resentment for the white people clear as he says, “Hands burn for a stone, a bomb… Nothings changed. ” Here he says that his hands burn for something to throw through the window of the ‘white’s only inn’.

The ‘white’s only inn’ appears to be a symbol of white supremacy and he wants to destroy it with “a bomb”. In Charlotte O’Neil’s song, the dislike of her master is also apparent. “And I scrubbed till my hands were raw” indicating that she work hard for her master. She goes on to explain that she does everything around the house, “I polished your parquet floor… I emptied your chamber pot… I washed your plate,” You get the sense that she is getting fed up of the things she has to do.

But then the atmosphere of the poem changes where she says, “I’ve cleaned your plate… ut now you’re on your own, my dear. ” Here there is a sense of change in the narrator’s mood, where decides that she will leave her master. “I won’t be there anymore. ” So she is able to get out of her situation. Both narrators have both chosen to protest about different inequalities with words, and they do it well. The narrator in ‘Nothings changed’ protested about the difficulties faced by black people in South Africa, he bitterly recalls the injustices of racism and argues this situation has not changed.

The narrator for ‘Charlotte O’Neil’s song’ protested about the inequalities which faced by the poor in 19th century England. Both poems are similar, in the way that they both talk about hardship and horrible injustices in the human society. However, the narrator for ‘Charlotte O’Neil’s song’, has a positive ending, the reader can celebrate charlotte’s defiance and independence as she is about to escape the known bad and exchange it for a possible good future.

By contrast, the narrator for ‘Nothings changes’ could not escape his situation whatever he did, just because of the colour of his skin. There is one definite feeling that both poems are talking about the same thing. injustice. They are poems that raise and to a degree complain about issues related to their cultural orgins, but which could be universalised living in todays world. People today still face problems with inequality, racism and injustice.

Related Topics

We can write a custom essay

According to Your Specific Requirements

Order an essay
Materials Daily
100,000+ Subjects
2000+ Topics
Free Plagiarism
All Materials
are Cataloged Well

Sorry, but copying text is forbidden on this website. If you need this or any other sample, we can send it to you via email.

By clicking "SEND", you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy. We'll occasionally send you account related and promo emails.
Sorry, but only registered users have full access

How about getting this access

Your Answer Is Very Helpful For Us
Thank You A Lot!


Emma Taylor


Hi there!
Would you like to get such a paper?
How about getting a customized one?

Can't find What you were Looking for?

Get access to our huge, continuously updated knowledge base

The next update will be in:
14 : 59 : 59