Compare the ways the poems/poet present injustice Essay
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The two poems I have chosen are Limbo by Edward Kamau Brathuaite and Nothing’s Changed by Tatamkhula Afrika. This poem tells the story of slavery in a rhyming, rhythmic dance. It is either Heaven or Hell, so if you’re in limbo you are in between. It is about the actions of the dance, and the history of a people which is being enacted. Going down and under the limbo stick is likened to the slaves’ going down into the hold of the ship, which carries them into slavery.
Nothing’s Changed is about the destruction of district 6, where people of all colours and beliefs lived together. However after the apartheid it was declared a ‘whites-only’ area. I chose these 2 poems as they are both injustice and tell in 2 different scenarios. Three techniques I chose to compare are structure, imagery and juxtaposition
The structure for Limbo is that there are no punctuation until the last sentence where there is a full stop to end it.
This is because it is symbolic to the slaves’ continuous suffering. Also something that is very effective and which is not recognised quickly is that the poem begins with a capital letter, to show the journey has begun and ends with a full stop to show the journey has ended.
This is a great technique used to show injustice. Nothing’s changed structure is the poem is set out in six stanzas, each of eight fairly short lines. The title and the last line of poem are the same. The poet is trying to emphasise the same old District Six he returns to still hasn’t changed. He is saying even though that the apartheid has ended in reality it still very much exists. Yes the signs have gone but he feels there are still the same attitudes, social divisions and tensions. The way he has written give you a clear understanding so in a way it shows injustice is in the poem.
Imagery presents injustice in the poem, it says “limbo like me” so either join me in the dance or I am in limbo. This gives you imagery. Also “Long dark deck is the silence in front of me” “stick is the whip/ and the dark deck is slavery” gives you imagery to. It shows they are on a boat so there must be water around and it is silent. The word slavery makes you think of an image.
Also you picture a boat full of slaves on the water going somewhere and it is full of silence. Nothing Changed is ‘I press my nose, to the clear panes, know, before I see them.’ You can picture the poet pressing his nose onto the window and he can see that the place was once theirs but now it belongs to white people. It’s like there is a barrier that blocks his path into going there. This definitely presents injustice as he is not able to go there because of his colour. Both these poems give vivid pictures when you read them.
Juxtaposition also presents injustice in both these poems. In Limbo there is good and bad, as in heaven and hell in the poem. It first starts sad and then happy so “stick is the whip
and the dark deck is slavery” then later on “up up up up / and the music is saving”
“The drum stick knock / and the darkness is over me” it is like the bad has gone and the good is here, everyone can be happy. In Nothing’s Changed it shows black and white people, being separate. “new, up-market, haute cuisine, guard at the gatepost, whites only inn” then to “Down the road, working man’s cafe sells bunny chows. Comparing the 2different stores the rich one for white only and the poor to black people.