Poems from different cultures cluster 1 AQA english language

Poems from different cultures cluster 1 AQA english language

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Poems Cluster 1
Limbo ­ Edward Kamau Brathwaite
The poet uses the connotations of the word limbo to enhance the poems three
meanings: limbo the dance, limbo the place between heaven and hell, in limbo
(stuck between two situations) The poem is about slaves being brought from Africa
to America, and the hardships they endured. It describes the African limbo dance
being performed; the stick is continuously lowered so it is increasingly difficult to
get beneath it, which could reflect the poet's ideas about the slaves' situation. The
African people were beaten to the ground and subjugated to the will of their
owners, leading them into a limbo of the third kind: trapped between their
backgrounds of freedom and their new lives as slaves.
Africa is evoked through phrases like `sun coming up' and `burning ground'. The
slave ship's deck is referred to as `long dark deck', which evokes images of hell.
People being in limbo (trapped in two situations)
The survival of ancient traditions (limbo dance)
Slavery and corruption, the subjugation of human beings to the will of
The strength of spirit and free will, enabling people to survive in ill-fated
The clash of cultures: the slaves and their masters had different languages,
resulting in `silence' between them
The endurance of people and the sustainability of culture
Alliteration stresses words that describe the deck of the slave ship and
multiplicity of meanings
Strong rhyme and rhythm echo the limbo music. The disjointed pattern
reflects the disjointed lives the slaves were forced to lead
Enjambment enables the lines to run on, reflecting the hopelessness and
unending desperation of their situation
Symbolism: the stick is a symbol of oppression as the character gets lower
and lower to the ground and closer to being a total slave. At time the stick is
a whip with which the slaves are beaten.
Imagery: the image of rape is evident: `knees spread wide'. The physical
force into the ground represents the domination of the slaves. Images of
darkness and oppression and violence pervade the beginning of the poem.
Repetition of `limbo like me' makes the reader consider its meanings, and
suggests the suffering is ongoing.
Negative Diction e.g. `dark', `silence' stresses the loneliness and despair of
being in captivity.
Positive images enter by line 40: the sun symbolizes a bright new life and
`raising me' and `saving me' suggest hope.
Personal perspective makes it more genuine
Present tense suggests it's ongoing and makes the oppression more real.

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Nothing's Changed ­ Tatamkhulu Afrika
The poem is about a man's journey to a district that has changed in recent years. It
takes him back to his childhood and, although superficially things have changed, the
ingrained race divisions still remain the same. The area is District Six, an area for
only whites during the apartheid. Now anybody can go there. It is being
redeveloped and now houses and expensive restaurants are there.…read more

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Set in London near the `dull North Circular' and juxtaposed with the beautiful
Caribbean island and heightens the comparison.…read more

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Positive diction: `kindly' `silver' `sun' `polishes to perfection'
Appealing to the senses through onomatopoeia ­ `splash' rush' `crashes'
Short lines and phrases echo the drops of water
Similes `the skin cracks like a pod'
Metaphors ­ water is like the `voice of a kindly god'
Personification ­ water is given superhuman qualities it is so special
Religious imagery `roar of tongues' like a choir singing, the `congregation' a
group in church, a `blessing' is part of a church service
Enjambment causes the lines to unfold…read more

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On the surface, the poem describes two vultures in a tree. One day they are eating
the innards of a dead animal and the other being affectionate with one-another:
demonstrating how love and brutality can co-exist. Reiterated by the German
concentration camp worker who murders Jews but goes home and brings chocolate
for his children. Everyone is capable of good and evil ­ a concept difficult to define.…read more

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The atrocities of war: how peoples lives can be destroyed
Celebration of another culture: the diction used portrays Vietnam before
the was as a beautiful place with content people
The poem is laid out as a set of questions
In the first stanza the language is conversational in tone and direct in style
The first stanza highlights the positive qualities of the country.…read more


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