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Sujata Bhatt tells us about the difficulties that she has speaking with a new tongue when her old tongue starts to rot away in her mouth with her new tongue pushing it out of the way and trying to take over. ‘Your mother tongue would rot, rot and die in your mouth until you had to spit it out”. This means the author has stucked between two languages and the new language (English) is making her lose mother tongue (Gujarati). Having two tongues this poet feels that she is totally confused and makes her to forget her mother tongue while she speaks English. She also tried to think and dream both languages at the same time but she couldn’t.
She has dreamt in Gujarati and transliterated into English. At the end of the poem her feelings changes a bit because she describes over the night her confidence grows back even stronger than before, but while she dreams it grows back, stump of a shoot grows longer, grows moist, grows strong veins, it tries the other tongue in knots. This means she highlights the difficulties being part of two cultures. The dominant culture is always the mother tongue (her Gujarati culture is always the influences of the American lifestyle).
The shape of the poem has divided into three parts: ? First part of the poem explains her conflict with loosing her mother tongue and learning a new foreign tongue. ? Second part of the poem is written in Gujarati (mother tongue) and explains her fear of loosing her identity. ? Third part of the poem is translated in to English and focuses on her determination to retain her Gujarati culture. The poet includes the Gujarati as an indication of the strong link between language and culture. This shows us that she tries to use the both languages at the same time in her dreams.
The central part of the poem is looks different because it has written in Gujarati and transliterated into English. I think the poet included this Gujerati script and its phonetic prescutation underneath as an indication of the strong link between language and culture and possible to you to realise how difficult it would be in a foreign country and speaking in a foreign language. Fundamentally, one image links this whole poem is that a flower. She compares her mother tongue to a flower that grows (a symbol of beauty and life), like a flower grows the foreign language also grows but her mother tongue is stronger eventually. This is called Extended Metaphor. I think the poet used this extended metaphor in order to compare the differences and influences of two languages. The list below describes some of the ways in which her mother tongue is compared to a plant.
The poet uses both negative and positive images in describing her mother tongue. Sujata Bahatt thinks that foreign tongue has most powerful effect than Gujarati but Gujarati culture overcomes the influences of the American style and still makes the mother tongue strong. In conclusion, I believe that I have learnt a lot about the culture and traditions of an immigrant. The writer feels that she has confused in between two languages. She feels her mother tongue is being lost in her mouth and foreign tongue is becoming more frequently used, this is making her uncomfortable. At the end of the poem, I feel that she gives us an inside view of what it must feel like to be in a foreign country and speaking in a foreign language.