Different Cultures revision

Revision notes for poems from different cultures and traditions AQA GCSE English

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Message Describes slaves being transported on a ship. Explores ideas of hope and despair. Methods - Ambiguity - By the end, have they been released from slavery, allowed out from below the decks, has the sun risen or have they died (seen the light)? Limbo is both the dance and being stuck between two places or it could represent prison. Enjambement - lack of punctuation could reflect the never ending voyage or the tides of the sea, or the flowing rhythm of the dance. Repetition - Could represent the repetitive nature of their journey, the chant and rhythm of the dance or to emphasise the slaves are in a state of imbo. Monosyllabic Words - Provides rhythm, sounds harsh, reflects simple, hard life. Onomatopoeia - Sounds are harsh (stick, whip) or trance like (drummers). Polysyllabic Words - are uplifting and increase the pace, rhythm and excitement. Symbolism - Sun = hope, Darkness = despair Layout - looks like a song - italics like a chorus. Rhythm is broken in the final line. Metaphors - 'long dark deck' could represent life. Other - A sense of confusion and not belonging. A snese of panic is created. poet is interested in exploring his roots - his anscestors were slaves.

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Nothing's Changed

Message - Despite apartheid being abolished in South Africa (Cape Town's District Six), prejudice, racism and subtle segregation still exists. The poet is angry that nothing's changed. Methods - Onomatopoeia - 'click' -harsh consonant sounds, 'thrust' - suggests force so somthing is resisting his presence. Alliteration - harsh 'c' represents his footsteps, 'flaring like a flag' shows he wants to reveal his anger. Repetition - 'and' builds up tension. Pun - 'whites only inn' - a public house or only whites are welcome. Contrasts - The interior of the restaurant and the working man's cafe; run down, undeveloped areas and the newly developed areas. Structure - The poem ends with the title to emphasise that nothing's changed and he's back where he started, outcast, denied entry, angry. Other - Many negative words to show his disgust at the Aoartheid policy that was in place, 'incipient', brash', 'crushed', 'burn' etc. Port Jackson trees were introduced to the area from Australia, they hadn't matured and did not look right there - like the white people in what had been a multicultural area of town.

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Island Man

Message - Literally about a man who lives in England and wishes he was back in the Caribbean where he originates from. it explores a clash of cultures. Methods - Colour Imagery - Bright colours are associated with the Caribbean 'blue, emerald' whereas London is 'grey' and 'metallic'. Alliteration - 'sun surfacing', 'sound of surf' a soft, positive sound almost like waves. Repetition - 'groggily, groggily' and 'muffling, muffling' imitates the feeling and action and how the man is still half asleep. Made up words - 'wombing' links to birth and origins as in the womb, you feel comfort and security which is how he feels about the Caribbean. it could also represent sound 'booming' and how noises are muffled in the womb. Free Verse - No pattern could suggest how he feels his life is out of rhythm or that dreams/thoughts have no structure. Onomatopoeia - 'surge', 'roar', 'soar' - sound imagery shows that as he hears the sound of passing traffic, it reminds him of waves hitting the shore as he's half asleep.

Other - Some words aligned to the right - could show he's waking up or emphasise that he is detached. The poem challenges ideas about where the home is. Last line is physically isolated like him - facing reality.

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Message - The poem describes what happens when a water pipe bursts in a poor community that does not usually have access to water. It explores what is valuabe in different cultures. Methods - Metaphors - (for water) - 'blessing', silver', 'liquid sun' - all positive, precious images. Sound Imagery/Onomatopoeia - 'screaming', 'drip', 'splash', 'crashes', 'roar', 'sings' to reflect the sound of the water and the community reacting to it. Simile - 'the skin cracks like a pod' shows the dry, hot climate. 'Pod' could represent growth. Enjambement - Flowing pace represents the flow of water from the burst pipe and emphasises the excitement felt by the community at their 'fortune'. Alliteration - 'polished to perfection' stands out to show how water has changed lives. Imagery - Religious; 'Blessing', 'a kindly god', 'a congregation' - shows that water is a gift most people take for granted. Precious metals; 'tin', 'silver', 'brass, copper, aluminium' - emphasise there is nothing more precious than water as it gives life. Other - The pace is slow to begin as they feel lethargic and hot. It speeds up with the lists in stanza 3 to show how water has changed their life. Political message - the water pipe runs through the community but they have no access to it. This should not be the case.

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Two Scavengers...

Message - It is about social class and democracy. Explores the American belief that all men are created equal but shows the reality that this is not the case. In the 1960's 'beautiful people' were hippies who renounced material wealth as meaningless - makes you question whether the couple are really 'beautiful' and invites you to think about what beauty and success is.

Methods - Juxtaposition - opposing images of 'grungy' men and 'elegant couple' - are they really that different? Whose life is better? Why? Oxymoron - 'small gulf' emphasises the contradictions in society. Irony - 'looking down into' - couple would look down on garbage men. Ambiguity - couple are 'cool' - could mean cold or trendy, 'looking down' perhaps on the couple's materialistic lifestyle which is 'odorless'. Repetition - 'elegant' - perhaps mocking? 'scavengers' - emphasises society's opinion of the working class. Alliteration - 'casually coifed' - too perfect? Other - Lack of punctuation and odd alignment makes you read it slowly and take in the images - very visual. Split lines could represent the split between the tow sets of people. There are similarities as well as differences between them. Ambiguous. Who does the poet approve of more?

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Night of the Scorpion

Message - This describes an event (a childhood memory). Is shows a clash or cultures within a culture - old superstitions and beliefs against more rationalist and sceptic modern ideas. It shows a poor rural community in a changing India. Are the neighbours a comfort or not?

Methods - Repetition - 'more candles, more lanterns, more neighbours' shows endless efforts to help and emphasises how tedious it was. Religious References - 'Evil One' - capital indicates a name - links the scorpion with the Devil. Prayer like quality 'May he...' shows they need to take comfort from a belief in God. They believe that her suffering is due to sins she has committed or will commit. Simile - 'like swarms of flies' shows how inept they are as they are shown as irritating pests/insects - they are insignificant. Enjambement - like natural speech as it's a memory. Detached Tone - the son is an onlooker - describing the event - factual and unemotional - as a child does he understand what's happening? Emotion - only in last 3 lines - set apart - mother's emotions are reported. Onomatopoeia - 'buzzed', 'clicked', 'groaning' - uncomfortable sounds. Alliteration - 'twisted through and through' - emphasises pain and discomfort'. Other - we are made to sympathise with the scorpion. The mother is selfless. Are the villagers selfish? Who are they comforting?

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Message - Explores how strange it is that you can find love in the most unexpected places. You could argue that it's a positive poem (love is everywhere) or negative (evil is everywhere). It presents the idea that all people contain both good and evil within them.

Methods - Visual Images - 'picked the eyes of a swollen corpse' - negative and stomach churning. Juxtaposition - 'bashed in head...feathers inclined affectionally' - two opposites relating to love - emphasises the strangeness. Personification - 'love in other ways...will pick a corner' - makes love seem as if it has a mind of its own. Enjambement - continual flow makes it seem eerie and so builds tension. Structure - short lines makes you appreciate the horror. Four sections each have a different focus.Elipses - (...) Emphasises next word 'strange' which sums up opinion of love. Alliteration - 'caverns of a cruel' - harsh sounding. Other - Images of damp and decay and tender images are contrasted. Shows that even the worst creatures can contain tenderness within them. Vultures are scavengers but they pair up for life (40-50 years) and raise their offspring for a whole year.

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What Were They Like?

Message - It was written as a political protest against the Vietnam war. It imagines a future where the Vietnamese people have been wiped out and no one can remember them. It is a warning that genocide is wrong and suggests the ancient culture of Vietnam is a beautiful thing that should be respected.

Methods - The Questions - Simple and unemotive, asking for factual answers, possibly only yes or no responses making you question whether they are really interested. The type of questions you would find in a text book about an ancient civilisation. The Answers - Lnger sentences. Emotional language 'bitter', 'charred' etc. Lots of violent images evoking death and destruction. Former culture presented as peaceful with positive images, 'joy', 'song', 'delight', 'pleasures', 'peaceful'. 'flight of moths' shows how fragile they were. Annihilation of a people and culture is shown through 'it is not remembered'. The past is only an 'echo' and 'reported'. It has a very sad tone. Uncertainty is shown through 'perhaps' and 'maybe'. It ends with a question 'Who can say?' so it goes full circle. Other - In reality, the Vietnamese were a fierce race - would they have liked to be presented in this way or might they have found it insulting? It reinforces we do not understand the Vietnamese or what they went through.

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