GCSE English Paper 2 Revision (2)

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Nothing's Changed

  • What is it about?
  • This poem depicts a society where rich and poor are divided. In the apartheid era of racial segregation in South Africa, where the poem is set, laws enforced by the police kept apart black and white people.
  • The poet looks at attempts to change this system, and shows how they are ineffective, making no real difference.
  • "District Six" is the name of a poor area of Cape Town. This area was bulldozed as a slum in 1966, and never properly rebuilt.
  • Although there is no sign there, the poet can feel that this is where he is: "...my feet know/and my hands."
  • Message - Despite apartheid being abolished in South Africa, prejudice, racism and subtle segregation still exists. The poet is angry that nothing's changed. 
  • What do I need to know about the author?
  • Afrika lived in District 6 during apartheid and was actively involved in opposing it.
  • What poetic features and methods are noteworthy?
  • The structure is clearly divided into 6 stanzas, appropriate for the clearly divided apartheid society and for a poem about District 6.
  • Structure - the poem also ends with the title to emphasize that nothing's changed, and he's back where he started, outcast, denied entry, angry.
  • The 1st stanza is all one sentence, and it gives it a sense of drifting. The verbs are also at the end of the lines, and they are onomatopoeic verbs such as 'click'. There is also a metaphor for society, in the 'amiable weeds' . The weeds are not wanted, but are tolerated, just like the black people in society. Furthermore, the rhyme of 'heels', 'seeds' and 'weeds' perhaps suggests the footsteps that the stanza begins with. The word 'thrust' also suggests that something is resisting his presence.
  • The 2nd stanza concentrates on strong images of body parts, perhaps suggesting how closely the poet's existence is tied to the place. The listing of the body parts also draws attention…


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