Kishwar Naheed Essay
She conveys that women were unwanted and were not cared for. In particular female infants were seen as a financial burden to an Indian family as they were discriminated from working and were not allowed to have an education. Naheed emphasises that she felt as if she was in the family for no purpose. Male infants were seen as the family gaining prosperity, they were celebrated and it was a gift to be proud of. The opening of the stanza “Brash with glass” immediately tells the reader that this is a luxurious place or arrogant. The word “Brash” is ironic as it can mean white faced.
The harsh vowel of the assonance helps the reader to suggest the poet’s anger. The simile and alliteration of the phrase “flaring like a flag” conveys the idea that the restaurant asserts itself, even in its name. The word “flag” suggests that the people who set up a flag, have conquered someone else’s land. This highlights the idea of when the whites stole the land of South Africa. “Flaring” suggests that the whites are bragging to the masses (blacks) about their superior lifestyle and it conveys Afrika’s anger as this links to the image of heat used earlier in stanza two “anger of my eyes.
” The simile “guard at the gatepost” suggest that the restaurant is reserved exclusively for white people. The “guards” are threatening the masses (blacks. ) He explains that even though there is “No sign” displayed outside the “whites only inn” and Apartheid was supposed to be put to an end. The “guard” is replaced instead of the sign as they block the masses (blacks) from entering the “haute cuisine. ” Therefore, Afrika gives a clear image to the reader that Apartheid still exists.
In “I am not that woman” Kishawar Naheed attempts to redefine the man-woman relationship; and address the situation she faces in her everyday life of exploitation and oppression. It is illustrated in the words “Now it is time for me to flower free. ” The alliteration gives the impression that she wants to fight back and does not want to live restricted anymore. The words “Now” and “free” shows when she wants to redefine the man-woman relationship. Moreover, she explains how she wants to live like. Naheed wants a life with no restrictions and for men and women to be treated equally.
The message in the poem is that men and women are not always treated equally; and how there is still sexism and discrimination. In particular, women are not dominated by men and men are treated with prestige and power. The poem helps her express her thoughts and feelings. Afrika’s words are ambiguous “we know where we belong. ” This perhaps emphasises that the masses (blacks) know that they are discriminated from entering the inn as there is a “guard at the gate post. ”
The use of the pronoun “we” emphasises that he believes that his identity belongs with the masses (blacks.) The “single rose” on each table contrast with the “working man’s cafe. ” As a “single rose” symbolises high quality lifestyle or perfection. It could also mean the arrogant wealth that was amongst the mass poverty at the time. In the words “My motherhood” Naheed conveys that women were born to nurture and care. On the other hand, the men in her society have stolen this substantial and amazing gift from them. Instead women are forced to be voiceless, obedient and were unfairly treated as servants due to the male dominance. “My loyalty” suggests that her husband and her father took away her loyalty and treated her unfairly.
Naheed is aware that she has the right to achieve her “loyalty” again. In the fifth stanza the poet uses the words “bunny chows” to convey the masses (blacks) poor lifestyle in the “working man’s cafe. ” “Bunny chows” was cheap at the time and a common local snack of a poor man’s hamburger; it is a stark contrast with “haute cuisine. ” In the restaurant there are “plastic table’s top,” this suggests the poor lifestyle the masses had. The “plastic table’s top” suggests that there is no tablecloth and they felt incomplete, empty and it must have been uncomfortable to eat on.
“Wipe your fingers on your jeans” gives the impression that there is nowhere to wash one’s hands after eating or a tissue to wipe hands. Afrika uses direct imagery to show the life of the masses (blacks. ) Kishwar suggests that women do not have self respect. This is evident in “The woman on the poster half naked. ” Naheed is commenting on how men view women as objects or for sexual pleasure. She wants this view to change. The tone “No, no I am not that woman! ” emphasises that Naheed is not a woman who is obedient, subservient and does not want to avoid any arguments or disagreements with anything the men verbalize.
The repetition of “no” shows that she is certain on her actions and strongly disagrees with how many women in the Asian culture are living. Afrika uses the words “boy again” to show that the appearance of District six brings back memories of his childhood when the Apartheid system existed. He does not feel independent as he feels like a “boy” and believes he is following the whites like how a child is with their parents. “Hands burn” emphasises his anger against the system and his urge to destroy the symbol of segregation. Afrika repeats the title “Nothing’s changed” at the ending of the poem.
He conveys that even though Apartheid has been Abolished, the masses (blacks) are still treated inferior. The final stanza shows his anger and disappointment of the economic division between the whites and the masses (blacks) and conveys that the society has not changed at all. The layout of “Nothing’s changed” is set out in eight short lines in each of the six stanzas. The layout creates a sense of control as he is clear on what he is feeling and no sudden rage is introduced at any point in the poem. His anger increases gradually within each line.
The poet makes his argument straight forward by emphasising his feelings in a calm manner. In the first stanza the use of imagery makes the reader feel as if they are ‘in the poet’s shoes. ‘ This makes it clear and easy to imagine how life was like for Tatumkhulu Afrika. This is illustrated in the words “Small round hard stones click under my heels. ” It makes it easy to imagine the masses (blacks) unpleasant and unfortunate lifestyle. The structure of “I am not that woman” is informal. The layout of the stanzas do not fit in a regular pattern and none of the words rhyme with each other.
The free flowing structure shows how determined Naheed is about her argument. This conveys that nothing can change the way she is and nothing will hold her back. Even by the simple rules of poetry. It emphasises how infatuated she is towards emancipation. Furthermore, she is protesting about women having access to equal opportunities and rights as men; and women should not be treated as if they are worthless or disempowered. It is seen in the words “my loyalty. ” The tones between “Nothing’s changed” and “I am not that woman” are very different. Kishwar Naheed’s tone in “I am not that woman” is very calm, but firm.
Her steady tone conveys that she has control over what is being said by repeatedly claiming “I not that woman. ” Tatumkhulu Afrika’s tone contrasts compared to Naheeds. In “Nothing’s changed” the poet seems to be increasing his rage within each line as he sees more things that have not changed even though Apartheid was abolished. Moreover, he is feeling angry because he had not been to District six for many years. In-conclusion, I believe that Kishwar Naheed in “I am not that woman” argument is stronger as the poem relates more to her lifestyle, cultural beliefs and traditional values about what she has experienced as a woman herself.
Naheed clearly explains that wants equality between men and women. Moreover, she does not want to live a typical lifestyle of an asian; and leaves the reader in hope that there is a chance of change. However I believe that Tatumkhulu Afrika argument in “Nothing’s changed. ” Is not as strong as Naheed’s as he leaves the reader feeling helpless and has not attempted to change his lifestyle as much as Naheed has in “nothing’s changed. ” Afrika has allowed the whites to treat the masses (blacks) unfairly; because he was not as determined or eager as Naheed.
He mainly just agreed how “nothing’s changed” however, Naheed believes that no one can stop or change her views. This is why I strongly believe Naheeds’s argument is more effective. I believe that Naheed’s argument will become more powerful if the majority of women did not accept the cultural beliefs of a submissive Asian housewife and they were all determined to fight for equality. By women taking action as a group by giving their views and speaking; the men may realise that women are treated unfairly, and their lifestyle may change once they have taken action.
University/College: University of Arkansas System
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 28 September 2017