Poetry From Other Cultures and Traditions
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I disagree with this statement, as I feel that the three poems which I have chosen show the reader that perhaps it is not a positive benefit living in another culture, and in fact, it is possibly a negativism. I feel this because in my three poems, they present the reader with a character, who is living in another culture, and show there feelings towards this culture, being negative.
In the poem “No Dialects Please”, written by Merle Collins, the reader is presented with an African slave from Trinidad, who encounters a major problem whilst living in another culture. He writes about his feelings towards this in a poem, during a poem contest, which he names “No Dialects Please”
In his poem he explains his situation to the reader. The British want him to serve them, although they treat him unfairly whilst he is with them. They try to destroy his language, and in turn, his culture, so that he is constantly under their control, unwilling to rebel.
There are various key messages shown thought the poem. When the man speaks the words in the first paragraph, “in this competition dey was lookin for poetry of worth for a writin that could wrap up a feeling and fling it back hard with a captive power to choke de stars so dey say ‘send them to us but NO DIALECTS PLEASE’ were british! This paragraph shows us what the reader is trying to do with his poem, being that he is trying to rebel, as he refuses to forget where he came from, he’s language, and he’s culture.
Another message that is shown in the poem is that the British, who don’t want to accept another language, are seen as hypocrites to this man. We know this as in the poem it says “Is not only dat ah think of de dialect of de Normans and de Saxons dat combine an reformulate to create a language-elect”. This shows that this mans thinks that it is completely bias that the British want to erase all foreign language, although the origins of there own language are from a foreign country!
The poet’s attitude throughout the poem is seen as constantly rebellious, this is because he shows throughout the poem his feelings of anger towards the British. However, he seems to use this feeling of anger as a way of getting his message across. We can see this in the poem as he frequently uses capitals when writing the words “NO DIALECTS PLEASE” This shows that the poet strongly disagrees with what the British are trying to force him to do, forget where he came from and who he is.
In the poem “Telephone Conversation”, written by Wole Soyinka, a black African man arrives in a foreign country, and is presented with the problem of racism. He encounters this problem of racism when he is spoken to in a absurd manner by a women on the phone.
The key message that is seen in the poem is that racism is wrong, and unfair, whether it be shouting abuse or even questioning someone on the appearance of their skin. In the poem the man is clearly offended by the racist, unnecessary remarks made by the women on the phone. We know this as in the poem it says “How Dark?…I had misheard…Are you light or very dark? This shows the extent of the abuse this man suffers whilst he is speaking to this woman on the phone.
The poet’s attitude in the poem seems to be shocked. Shocked at how the way he in spoken to during this conversation on the phone. He seems confused as to why this women even asks and says the things she does. We know this as in the poem it says “It was real! Shamed by ill-mannered silence, surrender pushed dumbfoundment to beg simplification. He uses a specific technique in the poem to show the readers exactly how his feelings are. He does this by writing in a detailed, descriptive way, such as using quotes to show the reader exactly what he has witnessed.
“Search for my tongue”, by Sujata Bhatt is about a young girl, who is torn away from her background, and inturn, her culture. This creates a problem for her as she finds it difficult to live in her new culture. Her biggest problem is perhaps her language. She feels that forgetting her language could lead to her losing her culture.
The key message in the poem is that you should never forget who you are, and where you came from. We know this as in the poem it says “Every time I think I’ve forgotten, I think I’ve lost the mother tongue, it blossoms out of my mouth. This shows that the writer is trying to make the reader understand that you should never forget who you are, no matter what difficulties you face.
The imagery used in the poem is the tongues, which are cleverly used as a representation of language throughout the poem. The writer uses this imagery as she is trying to make the reader understand her situation, being that what would we do if we didn’t have use of our tongues? We know this as in the poem it says “I ask you, what you would do if you had two tongues in your mouth. This shows that the writer is directly questioning the reader, to make them understand the problem that she faces; in this case, the two tongues represent the two different languages encountering each other.
My conclusion based on my three poems is that living in another culture, could lead you facing a huge problem, rather then you seeing it as a positive benefit. Although, as the poem “Search for my tongue” suggests, even though encountering a new and foreign culture could make things difficult for you, you should never forget your original one, where you came from, and who you are.