Half Caste

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Half Caste- John Agard 

This poem gives us the sense that John Agard is actually very happy with who he is, and he is telling somebody who has referred to him as "Half-Caste" (quite an outdated phrase) what it actually means. 

The methods that John Agard uses to get his points across are as follows:

  • Ironic Suggestion- saying that he is only "half" present
  • Puns
  • Looking at iconic people who mix things

The first stanza is very sarcastic, "Excuse me standing on one leg, I'm half caste." The irony is that this stanza is spelt correctly which is not the same throughout the poem. Agard uses non-standard english throughout the poem in the form of an Afro-Carribean patois (where verbs are missed out) and with no punctuation. The concept is that he is writing in this way because he is shunning the english language by not following its rules and instead making it seem like he is uneducated just like the stereotype for a mixed race person, when in fact we know that Agard is fully educated because of the first stanza and his references to Tchaicovsky and Picasso.

Agard also uses repetition in this poem "Explain yuself wha yu mean when yu say half-caste…


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