Visual language Essay
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One of the ways in which the poets bring out what the people are like through the language of the two poems is by using similes. In Two Scavengers the poet uses the simile “like some gargoyle Quasimodo” to symbolize that the bin man is unsightly. The simile “the peasants came like swarms of flies and buzzed the name of God a hundred times” in Night of the Scorpion suggests that the peasants are rushing to the attraction and are also religious, but annoying like buzzing flies.
The poets also use metaphors like “grey iron hair” implying that the bin man is old and tired. “Throwing giant scorpion shadows” symbolizes the amount of mental power the scorpion holds, and as the poem is a prose-poem written by the point of view of a child watching as his mother is bitten by a scorpion, this statement emphasises how frightened the child must have been. The peasants are referred to as “they” showing that they are distant from the child.
The poet of Two Scavengers uses no punctuation, so the different lengths of the sentences cause the pause effects. The poet of Night of the Scorpion uses personification by saying “flame feeding on my mother”. He uses repetition for “they said” hinting that the peasants say a lot of things but do nothing, he also applies repetition to “more” to emphasise the fact that more unnecessary and redundant peasants who will not help the predicament are coming, and uses repetition for “May” to perhaps show that the peasants are uncertain of what good can possibly come out of this terrible event.
The Night of the Scorpion is written in free verse with different line lengths and no rhyme. The structure of Two Scavengers is also quite free as the poet uses a new line for a pause, instead of punctuation. In the structure of Two Scavengers in a Truck, Two Beautiful People in a Mercedes, there is a contrast within the title. This poem seems fragmented and broken up on the page and this might suggest the ‘broken’ nature of society. The lines of this poem overlap so the elements of the characters’ lives overlap, but are separated from the two distinct worlds, therefore the poem resembles the reality.
The last line of the poem which consists of three parts is segregated from the stanza above to show how distant democracy is from them. The word “democracy” is isolated from the poem , hence creating an emphasis on the word, and also highlighting the core issue throughout the poem. In Night of the Scorpion similarly to Two Scavengers the last sentence is separate from the rest of the poem as well. The reason for this could be because the mother is weak throughout the poem, but becomes strong at the end. In addition, it could be due to the fact that it is the only time the mother has spoken in the poem.
The differences of the language in these two poems are that Two Scavengers utilises visual language to describe the characters’ appearances: this effect creates an image in the reader’s mind unlike Night of the Scorpion which describes the actions and speech of the characters instead. In my opinion, Two Scavengers in a Truck is more appealing in view of the fact that it keeps the reader thinking, furthermore it forces the reader to question the world we live in and whether there is a thing such as “democracy”, and how we are supposed to be living in a “modern” world and “modern” culture in which everyone is equal, but is that really the reality? However, Night of the Scorpion has a major effect too, by presenting a tragic situation which represents the seriousness of the lack of health and medical care in poor countries. It is also an uplifting poem which shows a family never giving up hope.
Similarly, both poems contain conflict: – Two Scavengers is between two worlds and whether democracy exists at all, and Night of the Scorpion is a struggle between maintaining hope and faith and giving in to your fears and doubts. Despite the impact of Night of the Scorpion if the reader was not from a third-world country, they would probably find Two Scavengers in a Truck more appealing as it discusses issues which are relevant and significant to them in their country and culture, moreover it debates about problems which would actually make a difference to them and affect them if they are supposedly living in a “democracy”. On the contrary, if the reader was from a poor country and had experienced or witnessed lack of medical care, they would most likely prefer Night of the Scorpion as it exposes issues which they would find relevant.