English Literature - Unit 2 - Singh Song!

Singh Song!

This poem's all about a love-struck shopkeeper who can't stop thinking about his new wife. He's not so keen on working hard in his dad's shop though - he'd rather spent his time with her.

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You've got to know what the poem's about

  • The narrator is a British Indian. He talks about his life working in his father's corner shop.
  • He's just got married and keeps sneaking out of the shop to spend time with his new bride. She's Indian too but dresses in British clothes and acts in a modern, Western way.
  • The narrator neglects his shop duties - customers complain that he's bad at running the shop.
  • When the shop's shut, the couple sit and talk. He tells his wife how much she means to him.
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Learn about the form, structure and language

  • Form - The poet uses some rhymes to give the poem a light-hearted tone. As well as the narrator's voice, it features the voices of his wife and the customers he ignores, showing how he fits into the community. It's like a song with verses and a chorus which makes it sound lively and rhythmic.
  • Structure - The poem alternates between descriptions of the narrator's marriage and his customers' complaints. The repeated choruses emphasise how often he neglects his work. 
  • Humorous Descriptions - The narrator uses entertaining images to describe his wife and family. He also uses quite romantic descriptions mixed with humour with add to the light-hearted feel.
  • Contrasts - Lots of seemingly contradictory things are brought together in the characters within the poem. The narrator shows that people can embrace elements of different cultures in their own identity.
  • Phonetic Indian English - Voices in the poem combine Indian and English words and accents, sometimes creating new words. This shows the influence of both cultures on the people in the poem.
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Remember the feelings and attitudes in the poem

  • Love - The narrator's in love and proud of his new bride - he enjoys spending time with her. His wife's online dating agency could also emphasise the new generation's modern attitude to love.
  • Rebellion - The narrator's wife makes fun of his parents. He seems to find her lack of respect amusing so her imitations are presented as acceptable and endearing. The young couple rebels against his father's strict rules about working hours by sneaking off all the time.
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Go a step further and give a personal response

Have a go at answering these questions to help you come up with your own ideas about the poem:

1) Do you think the title of the poem is effective? Why?

2) What does the poem suggest about modern marriage?

3) What is the narrator's attitude towards balancing his marriage and work?

4) Do you think the narrator seems happy in the poem? Why?

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