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Comparison of Unrelated Incidents and Search For My Tongue

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This poem is about a woman who speaks 2 languages – English and Indian. She is from India, but has been forced to speak English, but she sometimes forgets what language she is speaking. This is shown in the poem in line 17-29, which are written in her ‘mother tongue’. The entire poem describes her lingual conflict, and the way that whenever she thinks the mother tongue has gone from her mouth, it appears again.

This poem is structured in 3 sections. The first section is line 1-16, the second is line 16-30, and the final section is line 31-38. The first and last sections are in English; the second is written in her natural language. The third section describes the ‘mother tongue’, comparing it to a plant.

This poem is a very good example of imagery, with lines like “it grows back, a stump of a shoot”. The third section of the poem all adds to the same image – that of a plant. This image begins at line 31, and continues to the end of the poem using phrases like “the bud opens” and “it blossoms out of my mouth” to add to the metaphor of a plant. This metaphor gives a very strong image, and this image is very easy to see because plants are something that we all see every day, so have no trouble imagining, and it is a very appropriate metaphor because the idea of growth is commonly associated with plants.

‘Unrelated Incidents’

This poem is about a Scottish man writing in phonetic language who completely against the English. The poem is made against the English language and how it is correctly spoken; according to the poet the English language is completely wrong. His emotions are very fierce and angry towards the language. This

He doesn’t use the language correctly and he hates it with a deep passion that is very strong, it is a rebellion against the queens English which he is very contempt towards, he wants to prove that the English language is breaking down the Scottish conventions and traditions; he is very keen and fond of the Scottish traditions. He is fed up of seeing British people with British accents on the Scottish news, even though they are broadcasted by the BBC, which is where the man contradicts himself as BBC stands fir British Broad Casting so if he doesn’t want to watch the British on his TV then he shouldn’t watch the BBC news channels.

This man hates the English language and its literature, to get back at the language he uses no technical terms what so ever through out the entire poem; ‘this is ma trooth’ this expresses that he wants to speak and hear his local accent etc. the whole poem is about the self expression of him self and the Scottish.

This is his search for identity, against the English, he wants to hear more of the Scottish and wants to be heard and recognized for his anger.

The comparisons of these poems are that basically they are both about language and culture. One poem is celebrating it the other is attacking ignorance of another culture. Although these two poems are about the same subjects they differ completely and get their ideas across very differently. In ‘Search For My Tongue’ the layout is very flowery, natural like the bud of her blossoming tongue and very passionate, however, in ‘Unrelated Incidents’ the layout is mechanical, structured and almost outraged by the way things are today.

The language in SFMT is Standard English with all the correct grammar and punctuation but in the middle of the poem a stanza of Gujarati flows out, however, in UI the English is not standard and is done purposefully because he wants to get across the way he speaks. SFMT “modhama kheelay chay” UI “wanna yoo scruff”. The comparison is that in UI he is fighting against this common way of acceptance that Standard English should only be used within British television on serious subjects but in SFMT she is letting her language flow over her and letting it all rush back, not fighting, allowing it to reclaim it’s spot.

The subject of these two poems is both about mother tongue; in SFMT she is finding her mother tongue the one she thought had died and in UI there is almost a plead for people to allow people’s mother tongues flow out on television, although not another language but another dialect/accent they share the similarities in both poems: both about reclaiming their mother tongues.

The imagery of the poems is very different. The only imagery of UI is that of the layout of the poem, otherwise, there is none within the actual poem itself as it is a very blunt point. The imagery of SFMT is that of a pulsing living tongue although she is not actually talking about her tongue she is conveying her idea in such a way that it’s taken literally and that her mother tongue dies. Also when the tongue comes back it spurts out as a living things; pulsing, growing, stretching and opening. Sujata Bhatt is making us think that our languages are alive and are very much part of who you are which is also what Tom Leonard is trying to get across.

In conclusion to this both poems are about the same subjects but are however conveyed in two very different ways that you wouldn’t think they were so similar by looking and only by looking at the second meanings of the poems is when it becomes more clear to see that they are on the same wavelength of their messages.

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