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How Does Sujatta Bhatt Show that Identity is Important in ‘Search For My Tongue’?

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The poets of both ‘half-Caste’ and ‘Search for my Tongue’ put a strong emphasis on the importance of personal identity. They both use similar devices to portray their personal attitudes towards the topic.

The term ‘Caste’ means to be made, therefore ‘Half-Caste’ is a reacial term meaning half made. It is an offensive word used to descibe someone as being only half a person. John Agard opens the poem in standard English: “Excuse me standing on one leg”. He chose to do this to show his diversity in culture. He later changes his language to portrayhis other culture. “Explain yuself wina yu mean”. John Agard is showing his audience his pride in being from two separate cultures using language. He is showing the importance of being able to portray both of his idetities and not to be ashamed to express either.

The use of language devices is also used in ‘Search for my tongue’. The poem opens in English, which is maintained through the first section. The second section of the poem is written in Gujurati, the poet’s mother tongue. The use of this device is very effective in portraying the poets personal experiences. The poet expresses the isolation she felt when unable to understand the primary language of the country she is in: “Could not really know the other”. She makes the readers empaphise with her by not allowing them to understand language.

Both poems use imagery and metaphors to convey the importance of their identities. John Agard uses the term ‘Half-Caste’ to personify himself through art. “When Picasso mix red and green is a half-caste canvas”, music “tchaikarsky sit down at dah piano an mix a balack key wid a white key is a half-caste symphnoy” and many more things. He does this to show that the racial term used to describe a person from more than one culture is foolish. If music and art would not e described as ‘half-caste’ then why should a human?

Sujata Bhatt also uses metaphors. “the bud opens in my mouth”. She compares her language to a plant, describing it to be a bud plant. At first she shows her feelings of being alienated and forced to leave her culture to “die”. She then compares her language to a blossoming plant, comingback to her stronger than before. She is showing how important personal identity is by using negative words when she expresses isolation, then when she is showing herself regaining her mother tongue she uses strong and lively words.

Both poems use the words “I” and “You” a lot. This shows seperation and distance in the different cultures of the poets.

This essay achieves a B+.

* You have effectively brainstormed a wide range of language points to support your response.

* You consistently compare the two poems, focus in precise detail on language and address the question

For an A grade, the essay needs:

* A conclusion which explores the importance of culture

* To avoid needless repetition.

* To develop comment further

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