Search for My Tongue is about the conflict between the poet’s first language, Gujarati and the foreign language she now uses, English. The poet is worried that she will lose her first language but she remembers it in her dreams and the language comes out as extended metaphor.
Presents from my Aunts in Pakistan is about a girl who has grown up in England, who talks about the presents from her aunts in Pakistan. She loves the gifts but is uncomfortable using or wearing them. She is unsure of her identity.
In Search for my Tongue, the poem starts with a challenging tone, “You ask me what I mean,” sounds like she is answering a question. “Lost my tongue” could mean that she has lost her language, now she has moved to another country. The word tongue has a double meaning the organ in your mouth and a language. The poet uses ‘I’ and ‘You’ a lot, like in a conversation. And this gets the reader involved in the poem. Which then goes on and tells us about how hard it is to know two languages, and that she thinks that she has lost her first language (Gujarati) and doesn’t really know the second language (English).
She also tells us of the conflict of the two languages and how she can’t use them both at the same time even if she wanted to.
The poet uses a series of disturbing images and monosyllables to tell us about how her mother tongue has died. But when she dreams she remembers the language. Once again in the third section she uses metaphor to tell us how the language returns to her (how it grows back) and that every time she has forgotten the language, “it blossoms out of my mouth”.
... it has done for us. 5. “Which language , has not been the oppressor’s tongue? Which language Truly meant to murder someone? ” Here she ... that you never really truly forget your culture, but perhaps lose a bit or remember little, no matter how much you ... admired by later day writers and his position as a poet has seen enhancement in the later twentieth century. Background/Setting The ...
In Presents from my Aunts in Pakistan on the first line the words “salwar kameez”, stand out from the English words, just as the presents do from the English clothes she normally wears. In the poem we see a vast use of colour, “peacock-blue”, “orange”, “gold and black” and “apple-green”. The bright colours of the Pakistani clothes contrasted with the clothes she is used to seen in line 21, “denim and corduroy,” the poet is more comfortable with the plainness of English clothes than the startling colours of the salwar kameez. The poet tells us that even though she liked the foreign clothes she felt uncomfortable wearing them, she also felt peer pressure as her school friend wasn’t impressed with her clothes, in the end she feels like she doesn’t belong to either culture and feels like an outsider.
In search for my tongue there is a lot of metaphorical language, the first time it appears in the poem is “two tongues in your mouth”, which gives us the image of two tongues in one mouth and represents someone speaking two languages. The next time it occurs is “You could not use them both together” which show the conflict between the two languages. In the last section of the poem most of the section consists of extended metaphor about plants and languages.
grows longer, grows moist, grows strong veins,
it ties the other tongue in knots,”
The mother tongue is described as if it’s a growing plant. The repetition of the word ‘grows and ‘strong’ makes the tongue sound healthy, like its growing up or repairing itself, the poet also uses the image of two tongues competing in the mouth. “It pushes the other tongue aside.” The poet makes the mother tongue sound like part of nature, with a life and strength of its own. “It blossoms out of my mouth.” The plant metaphor is completed with the image of the plant bursting into a flower, and the poet remembering and speaking her mother
Introduction Language may refer either to the specifically human capacity for acquiring and using complex systems of communication, or to a specific instance of such a system of complex communication. The scientific study of language in any of its senses is called linguistics. Linguistic theory has traditionally considered native speakers as the only reliable source of linguistic data (Chomsky ...
The poem also uses repetition and monosyllables, the words “rot, spit it out and the bud opens,” are repeated to strengthen the horrible image or in the latter case it is repeated for a sense of wonder and suspense. The monosyllables “spit, rot, die and spit.” Are used for effect to show you an unpleasant image.
The second section in the poem is completely different from the rest of the poem, the Gujarati language is spelt out phonetically in English so we can read it out and hear how it sounds aloud. Its shows us the poets mother tongue visually, and emphasises its difference from English.
The poem is quite positive as in the end she comes to terms with belonging to two cultures and has adjusted quite well to the change.
In Presents form my Aunts in Pakistan, it shows a lot of pain and uncertainty, the poets lack of knowledge about the country where she was born causes her emotional turmoil. The first sign of this appears in the first stanza, “Candy-striped glass bangles snapped, drew blood.” This shows us that the bangles broke, like her link to Pakistan. In the third stanza “the cruelty and the transformation,” tells us the poet feels sorry for the camel whose skin was used to make the lamp. This reflects her own negative feelings about change. In the fourth stanza, “But often I admired the mirror-work, tried to glimpse myself.” Shows she likes the Pakistani clothes, but can’t feel attached to them. She is also trying to see who she is. “I pictured my birthplace from fifties’ photographs.” As the poet can’t remember Pakistan, she has to try and imagine what it was like, and wishes knew what Pakistan was like.
“and I was there –
of no fixed nationality,
staring through fretwork
at the Shalimar Gardens.”
This sums up her feeling of not being totally Pakistani or English, as we see there is a barrier stopping her from being part of Pakistan. She is an outsider and belongs to no culture, she has not adjusted to moving from one place to another and feels sad and alone.
Search for my Tongue shows the difficulties of moving from one culture to another through the variation of language and how hard it is to have to speak two languages and remember them; however the poet in the end comes to terms with this and has settled in the new culture, by knowing both languages and dealing with them. Whist Presents from my Aunts in Pakistan shows the difficulties using colour, a series of examples and anticlimaxes. In this poem the person has not come to terms with living with two cultures and feels like an outsider.
Compare and Contrast the ways in which the poet describes the breakdown if the relationship. Comment on the effectiveness of their verse-craft I chose to compare the poems: An Anniversary, by Vernon ScannelDismissal, by John Tripp A Winters Tale, by D. H. Lawrence In the poem 'An Anniversary'; the poet describes the relationship and it's breakdown as two leaves on a river, this is and example of ' ...
Out of both the poems I prefer Presents from my Aunts in Pakistan as even though it is sad and negative, it is more emotional, and doesn’t have repulsive images like in search for my tongue. A particular line holds my attention, the poet describes herself of “no fixed nationality”, I feel really sorry for her, it must be really hard having to figure out your own identity. I sympathize with her.