Poems from other cultures notes

Concise notes about the poem, language used and feelings and attitudes presented.

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  • Created on: 17-05-11 12:15
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Limbo Brathwaite
Limbo dance and voyage of a slave ship
Middle of poem = middle of voyage, right under the stick/limbo pole
Final section ­ poet sees an end to the suffering, comes out of the dark at last
although where he ends up might be worse than the journey
Slavery ­ main theme, cruel conditions
Repetition ­ "limbo/limbo like me" repeated
Metaphorical ­ descriptions of darkness and slave ship used to stress the living
hell of slavery, the voyage is a metaphor of the suffering of the slaves, silence is
Rhythm ­ beat of the drum on ship is like the dull repetition of slave labour and
tribal beat of limbo dance recalls the slaves' African roots
Feelings and Attitudes:
Anger ­ at the conditions on the ship and cruelty to slaves
Admiration ­ of the strength of the slaves
Celebration ­ of the slaves' past and their survival
Nothing's Changed ­ Afrika
Describes his return to District Six, even though the old sign is gone his senses
tell him where he is
The inn represents the reality that black and white still don't mix
He thinks about the cheap cafe which is very different to the inn
He wants to destroy the inn
Harshness and Bitterness ­ angry at the inequality uses harshsounding words
often short with alliteration and onomatopoeia
Metaphorical ­ inn represents white supremacy, the glass of the inn is like the
barrier of the apartheid which isn't visible but is still there
Comparisons ­ differences between lives of black and white
Feelings and Attitudes:
Recognition ­ physical recognition of home district
Anger ­ at its neglected state and racial inequality that still exists
Bitterness and Resentment ­ contrasting descriptions of white people's inn and
black people's café
Violent Feelings ­ at the end when he wants to "shiver down the glass" of the inn

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Island Man ­ Nichols
Man wakes up thinking of sights and sounds of a Caribbean beach
Idealised image only remembering the good things showing he wishes he was
Slowly comes back to reality of daybreak in London, grey buildings and sound of
Contrasting Descriptions ­ lots of hints he'd rather be in the natural paradise of
the beach than the dull, artificial greyness of London
Dreamy Language ­ some words strongly linked to ideas of sleeping or waking
others have confused double…read more

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Two Scavengers, Ferlinghetti
Two bin men look down from their truck to see rich, attractive couple in a
Stark contrasts between two pairs of people are described
Describes how far apart pairs are in social terms, even though physically close
(message of the poem)
Stillness ­ describes a single moment, the odd layout spreads the phrases
around like different things you might notice in a photo, no full stops ­ read in one
Comparisons ­ similarities and differences
Social Commentary ­ uses…read more

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Vultures ­ Achebe
Pair of vultures described, eating eyes and other disgusting images
Discusses how odd that love, personified, chooses to ignore evil
Nazi commandant goes home with the smell of murder clinging to him but buys
sweets for his child waiting at home
Poet sees two ways, you could be grateful that such an evil person has some
decency or that the good inside him will always be infected with evil
Contemplative Tone ­ doesn't seem shocked by the disgusting things he talks…read more

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Formal and Unemotional ­ on the surface
Sadness and Anger ­ criticises the thoughtlessness of the war
Regret ­ at what has been lost
Search For My Tongue ­ Bhatt
Explains the problem of being fluent in two languages using image of having "two
tongues in your mouth".
When she's asleep she dreams of her "mother tongue". In the middle of the poem
as it's the centre of her problems. Dream ­ natural (language comes naturally to
her).…read more

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Pain and Uncertainty ­ her lack of knowledge about the country where she was
born makes it hard to understand her identity. Feels uncomfortable in Pakistani
clothes. At end of poem she feels isolated and left out of both cultures.
Metaphorical ­ like the situation in Pakistan to reflect her own conflict over not
fitting in.
Feelings and Attitudes:
Confusion ­ feels out of place as a teenager.…read more


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