Translation and Half-caste Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 23 November 2016

Translation and Half-caste

Half-Caste is a poem written by John Agard. It presents another culture through dialect and uses complicated terminology. The poem is quite emotional and John Agard uses many techniques to present his ideas and views on Half-Caste. The poem is all about the different definitions of Half-Caste, it is undefined. Agard compares the word half-caste to Tchaikovsky’s piano, Picasso’s canvas and English weather.

Firstly, John Agard uses rhetorical questions throughout the poem; ‘what yu mean?’ this shows that nobody knows what Half-Caste means it is down to the reader’s own opinion. This is repeated a lot throughout the poem. Rhetorical questions were very effective in this poem as it made the reader think imagine what the phrase half-caste means. Another technique that Agard uses is repetition; ‘what yu mean when yu say half-caste’. This demonstrates that John wants to emphasise this phrase. Repetition helps the reader to think about what half-caste actually means because it shows that there is no real definition and that it is the reader’s own interpretation of the word.

The poet tells the poem in a confronting way because he uses the word ‘Half-Caste’. The poem is confrontational because the poem is coming across in an argumentative way especially against those who are half-caste. This could offend some people so the reader may think that, Half-Caste could be quite offensive. Half-Caste has many emotional thoughts. For example; is there anything wrong with the term ‘Half-Caste’, is it insulting, is he proud. A mixture of emotions are used here, including tension and anxiety, anger and also happiness.

John Agard presents his ideas in a confusing way. The reader would think this because he does not actually know what half-caste means but yet writes a poem about different views of the term half-caste. He also writes the poem as a past experience as if he was a victim of racism. Agard uses things associated with half-caste so maybe he has been affected; ‘one leg’, ‘half of mih ear’, ‘half of mih eye’, ‘half-a-hand’. This shows that Agard must understand what half-caste is all about but he signals that half-caste is undefined without saying it in the poem.

John Agard is very open-minded during the poem; ‘an I will tell yu de other half of my story’. This could show that there is another half to his story and that there may be a more cheerful side of his story. These words show that you should not judge people if you do not know them and don’t be judgemental. It does not matter what race or culture you are, be mindful. Agard uses insults to present his views on the term Half-Caste; ‘ah rass’. This could be offensive and cause anger towards the reader.

The poem suggests that the reader only knows the definition of half-caste if you are half-caste. It is outsmarting all of the racist people because racist people may find the poem an insult. In the poem, the reader thinks it suggests that everything is a bit mixed up but it does not matter because everyone is unique and different.

In conclusion, John Agard uses a variety of effective techniques to present the ideas and views to the reader. The reader thinks that the poem is quite confusing in the way it is written because it compares lots of things that the reader is not entirely sure define the term Half-Caste. The reader likes the way that Agard writes the poem as a past experience. Agard uses many techniques such as rhetorical questions and repetition which makes the reader think but also makes the poem flow well. Overall, the reader thinks that Half-Caste is a good poem that explains the different meanings of Half-Caste.

Free Translation and Half-caste Essay Sample


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  • University/College: University of Chicago

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Date: 23 November 2016

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