English Language - Poetry from Other Cultures

All the set poems from the 'Poetry from Other Cultures' set work English Language Exam and the key notes on each.

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Nothing's Changed

Before 1948, Africa was a mixed-raced culture untill arparthied was introduced where blacks and whites were segreated. Was meant to finish in 1994, so he went to visit but there was actually no real change there.

Key themes:

Poem Overview:
The poem shows him going back to disctrict 6. He goes to an Inn and realised it is 'whites only'. This is a pun to show that actually, he is not welcome in the inn because he is not 'white'. He sees in the Inn that it is very posh and nice inside. He then goes down the road to where he knows he is welcome as a black man. He descries it as dingy and dirty and shows a clear segregation and contrast between the cultures. He ends the poem negatively, expressing his anger and finally end with a single, 'nothings changed' to really emphasise this.

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Nothings Changed 2

Key Images:
Description of his old house. It is all weeds and rubbish and horrible and is not the usual happy return home.
Purple Flower that is amiable. Suggests it belongs there like he does. Reminds him of his childhood. (personification)
His body when he gets there. Every single part knows where he is. Suggests he had a hard life. Description of his eyes show his anger.
The White Inn. Glass used to seperate them and 'brash' shows the white's arrogance. Grass and weeds used to highlight segregation. The tress are in amoungst the lot of weeds. He thinks the trees don't belong there and are out of place. Guard are the gatepost, suggets violence against stopped black people. Image of luxury inside the Inn. Leaves mark of mouth on glass, shows how angry and rejected he is feeling.
Contrast between that and the working mans cafe that sellrubbish food 'bunny chows'.

Structure and form:
Has 6 stanzas with 8 lines in each. Reflects regularity within the poem and reflects his resticted anger. Although he does very sentence length, he uses very short sentence lengths to add meaning and effect. Written in present tense as if he is recalling and it makes the situation more realistic, it puts us in the poets shoes and enables us to empathise with him. Backing from the glass means that he is seperating himself from the whites. He says 'boy again', coukld relate to childhood or can be an african word for bad blacks.Viewpoint is representative of a whole culture.

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Contexts and Poets Intentions:
The writer, Chinua Achebe worked for the African version of BBC. He is one of the most famour african poets and writes alot about war because he has seen it first hand.

Nazi germany, concentration camps. Uses the volture to describe humanity of commanding officer (commandant). He wants us to consider the evil that can be in the human race. Explores good and evil and how it can be in one person alone. He is asking us if: we should be happy because evil people have the ability to love?
or if we should be sad because loving people have the ability to be evil?
There is uncertaintly in frases such as 'if you will' and 'or else' He is leaving it more open so that the reader themselves can decide and has to think about it themself.

Subjects and Themes:
Harbinger - messenger and sign of things to come
Charnel house - where dead bodys are stored
Bounteous Providence - the good things good has given to mankind
Perpetuity - lasting forever

At the beginning of the poem, they are eating a dead corpse, but there is signs of love and juxtaposition here. Then goes on to talk about love and how it appears in evil people. Then talks about the commandant and how he goes home to love his family still smelling of the dead corpeses because of his guilt.

Key Images:

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Night of the Scorpion

Poet born into indian-jewish family and studied in london and bombay.
Moderinest Movement in india, got awards, best poet in india.

Poem Overview:
Annecdote of the night when a woman (poets mother), in poor village in India is stung by a scorpion. Concerned neighbours poured into hut to advise and help. All sorts of cures tried by neighbours, husband and holy man, afterall they just had to wait. Mother was just thankfull that it stung her and not her children.

Free verse, various line lengths, no rhyme.
First part is long and full of activity (the scorpion bite and villagers reaction)
Mothers reaction calmer and only 3 lines.
Line lengths are shorter because it's more like a list of people trying to help.

Title deceptive, makes us think it's about a vicious scorpion, really about the reactions.
Starts off first person, then it goes to third person, he doesn't show reactions.
Scorpion isn't a villian, stung her instinctively as a warning for appraoching his home. People scared him off and he braved the rain again.
Villagers are superstious, think scoprpion is evil, they think poisin will help her rid her former life. They are just making excuses to make themselves feel better about it.
Setting is focused on, the villagers are just 'they'.
Father usually a rationalist and doesn't belive in superstition but trys everything to help her.Alli
Final 3 lines contrast to rabble. Shows that God is more powerfull than the neightbours

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Night of the Scorpion 2

Similie, compares villagers to 'swarms of flies'. Stricking he uses insects to react to an invertabrates sting.
Carrys similie on, this gives the effect that they are pointless and they are all just there and not really doing anything helpfull.
The neighbours create an image of the scorpion, even though it's gone. He implys that they are making it up and all over reacting/making the situation worse.
Neighbours 'piece of understanding' and the womans 'twisting on the mat;. Wierd that they are at comfort at her pain.

Alliteration throughout help link and emphasise ideas.
Alot of repitition so we hear the villagers prayers. Uses 'may' to dramatasise the scene and make them all just seem like a chorus.

Attitude, Tones and Ideas:
Attitude is to show the pride he has for his mother but also to create mystery to contrast different calls throughout the poem.

Vultures - Both use unexpected changes of mood. Start off sympathetic towards scorpion, then we think he is bad. Vultues, start of thinking they are bad, then realise they are affectionate.

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Urm, Apartheid was in South Africa not the entire continent, and it did finish in 1994.  

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