Compare the ways that Checking out Me History explores the importance of identity and culture with one other poem of your choice. Agard in Checking Out Me History show is strong belief in the importance of our identity. Whereas Nagra in Singh Song doesn’t see the importance of his identity. In both poems, the use of language has been used to show their culture and identity. In Checking Out Me History, Agard writes “Dem tell me/wha dem want to tell me”.
The use of non-standard english of ‘dem’ instead of ‘them’, suggests that the speaker is refusing to use standard english as he believes the Colonial Powers have oppressed his own identity and his own culture. The repetition of ‘Dem’ suggests that he has been brainwashed into learning about great white history like ‘Lord Nelson and Waterloo’. However, language in Singh Song is used to show a barrier between the two cultures. Nagra writes “Hey Singh, ver yoo bin?/yor lemons are limes”.
The use of non-standard shows a natural language barrier as he is trying to use standard english. The quote “yor lemons are limes”, suggests that the goods he is selling are outdated. From this we can see that there is a bridge between cultures as he trying to be like a traditional clean British shop from a typical stereotype of an unclean Indian corner shop.
Structure is used in Checking Out Me History to emphasise certain words . Agard narrates “Toussaint/ With Vision/ Lick back/ Napoleon/ First black/ De thorn/ De beacon/ De Haitian revolution”. The emphasis on the words ‘vision, thorn, beacon’ connotes hope and proudness in Black history. Also the half rhyme in ‘vision, beacon and revolution’ gives it a short snappy, slow rhythmic flow to it which is effective in making the forgotten Black history stand out.
In Singh Song, structure is used to show a contrast between the two cultures. Daljit Nagra writes “My bride/ she hav a red crew cut/ and she wear a Tartan sari/ a donkey jacket and some pumps”. The contrast between the ‘red crew cut’ and ‘tartan sari’ suggests culture difference as she wants to keep her Indian culture with the ‘tartan sari’ but wants to be modernised with the ‘donkey jacket and pumps’.
University/College: University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 4 October 2016
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