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Compare how two poets use language to reveal identity?
Both sujata bhaat and moniza alvi see language as an essential part of an
individual sense of cultural identity. Both outline the pressures to loose or
abandoned their identity. In "Search for my tongue" an extended metaphor is used
to create the journey of self discovery, whereas in "Presents from my aunts"
cultural references are used to create the confusion and identity she belongs to.
In "search" the poet uses first person to make the meaning more immediate for
the reader. You ask me what I mean by saying I have lost my tongue", this shows
that she is addressing to the reader asking a question of what the reader's
interpretation would be if they had "lost their tongue", also answering the
question for the reader, "I ask you what would you do", this showing that the poet
it's trying to be conversational and trying to involve the reader as the whole poem
is about speech, but losing your mother tongue. The metaphor "tongue" that
turns into literal shows who she is but struggles to show that there's no room for
her or could imply that she is afraid as well as thinking that her foreign tongue
must have been replaced by her mother tongue.
In comparison "presents" the use of metaphor has been presented to give that
imagery of her isolation. "Was Alien in the sitting-room?" she compares herself to
an unusual obsession to her English heritage with "satin-silken top" it starts off
with a very vivid imagery of her top but then the use of hyphens suggests a pause
of emotion and the enjambment used there to show her separation of her
Another similarity that the two poems have is unsettling images. In "Search" a
disturbed image of her having two tongues in her mouth, "two tongues in your
mouth" it represents speaking in two languages, but also giving that image of
having two tongues and how difficult it would be trying to speak with two
tongues in our mouth, that's what the poet is trying to reinforce of this girl
finding it hard to cope speaking in two different languages. Whereas in
"presents" an unsettling image is presented by an "candy striped glass bangles
snapped, drew blood" this image implies that the bangles broke just like her
heritage in Pakistan losing her identity also the blood that she shares in her family
seems to be broken for her because blood is family and can mean tradition and
In lines 16 to 30 she dreams her mother tongue it becomes from a negative to a
"Rot" and "die in your mouth" I thought I spit it out but overnight while I dream"
this implies the journey that she is in. The words "rot and "die" and the repetition
of "spit it out all plosive sounds that reinforce the strength of the imagery. The
poet uses Guajarati language within the poem it's phonetic, so as a reader we
could experience how difficult it is to speak a foreign language. Known as the
"two tongues" in our mouth. Also it's physically shown that the separation of
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Guajarati and English because of the phonetic spelling, to show the separation of
her mother tongue and her foreign tongue.
Whereas in "presents" the structure of the poem shows what journey she is in
which is confusion because of the end stop, that shows on stanza one , it gives
that interpretation that she is not in one place but in two because of the line
break. However she also describes her journey in Pakistan from childhood.…read more