Analysing the two poems Essay Example
Analysing the two poems Essay Example

Analysing the two poems Essay Example

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Firstly, we began to read Island Man as a class in lessons. This is written by Grace Nichols and is published in a book titled “Anthology”. The surface meaning of the poem is based on a man who used to live on a Caribbean island and still dreams of this place even now when he lives in London. At a first glace of the poem, it comes across as short and sharp, for example, the first line of the poem consists of the word “Morning”.

This may look as though a far from exciting way for a poem to begin, but from this, the author is starting to create an image in the readers head and this is setting the time frame.Then, carrying on in the first verse of the poem, “The Island man wakes up To the sound of blue


surf” These two lines portray the image of a man waking up on an island with blue waves lapping at his feet as he lies against an exotic palm tree. “The steady breaking and wombing” could be implying that the sea is his mother, who cares for him and is his only necessity. The word “wombing has many associations but the predominant image is the one of comfort and security. Also, the line “In his head” could be suggesting that the poem is all a dream of the man and it’s not reality, but what he’s like it to be.

The second stanza continues his dream of what he wishes live could be, building on to the image inside the readers head with thoughts of what a Caribbean island would be like. The two verses

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finish of with the phrase “groggily groggily” The repetition of the word is as if the character is reluctant to believe that he has to leave the island behind or is reluctant to acknowledge his new surroundings. The third stanza consists of four lines, repeating the phrase “comes back” from the previous stanza.The poet tells us that here he comes back to the “sands” but reading on, we realise that these are metaphorical sands of a “grey metallic soar” and the neutral images change to man made ones.

The sound of the sea in the Island Man’s mind has changed to roaring London traffic around the North Circular Road. An echoing technique is used with the repetition of the line “groggily groggily” when the next stanza begins with “muffling muffling” emphasizing that the character can’t get the city noises out of his head. These sounds give the feeling of being enclosed somewhere, which is portraying his feelings towards London city.The lack of punctuation in the poem lets it run freely, again, this could reflect on the characters feelings of wanting to be free and live naturally on an island. The irregular lengths and placing of lines is to form a visual pattern resembling the shore and tide. ‘Island Man’ is just nineteen lines in length but the writer seems to capture his feelings well and makes you feel sympathy for the character.

However the conflict is shown within the two places and how the man feels about these places. He obviously strongly dislikes the dullness of London and city life, and wishes he was living on an island where he imagines himself to be.The poet

shows this by creating two completely different images in the readers head, one being described as a beautiful and warming place, and the other a dull, noisy and polluted place. Lawrence Ferlinghetti writes ‘Two Scavengers In a Truck, Two Beautiful People in a Mercedes’. The poem’s surface meaning is the writer recalling a moment in a life when a garbage truck and a Mercedes were both stopped at traffic lights.

It is built around the two ‘types’ of people inside these vehicles. The title alone, switches your eyes from the two completely different vehicles and sets a good sight as to what the poem will include.Immediately we are informed of when this event happened, nine am in the morning, in San Francisco. The first stanza analyses the garbage truck and the poet is describing the vivid colours he is seeing. The colours being yellow and red often indicate danger! “A bright yellow garbage truck, With two garbage men in red plastic blazers” The poet continues to describe out of curiosity what the bin men are doing; “Standing on the back stoop, One on each side hanging on” This could be reflecting of the type of lives the bin men lead, hanging on to every bit of money they can get to support their families.

And standing on the back stoop- do people put bin men to the back of what we know as far as ‘classes’ go in our society? As the stanza continues, harsh alliteration is used to reflect negative feeling towards the elegant couple. It’s highlighted by phrases such as “casually coifed” and “short skirt and coloured stockings” All these descriptions are associated with

social beauty and acceptance. The beautiful people are described blandly in comparison to the bin men. The suggestion of their job, an architect, this is an ambiguous job and could give the reader more of an idea about the character’s wealth.

The sixteenth line of the poem commences with the words “And the” this continues until the end. This is to emphasise the daily routine of these people, what is described is the window to their lives and the fact that people everywhere are constantly stereotyping people for it. A complete contrast is shown when the ‘two scavengers’ are on their way home from work, starting at four o’clock in the morning, and the ‘elegant couple’ just on their way to work at nine o’clock. The phrase; “Grungy from their route” suggests that they are dirty and tired from their labour.Maybe the poet is trying to create an image where the people in the car are greedy and arrogant because of their wealth. This makes you feel sympathy towards the bin men.

The ways in which the two sets of people’s jobs are described are completely different to one another and shows the different choices and chances they’ve chosen in life. It doesn’t suggest that any one of them is better but we all will have witnessed on a frequent occasion something like this event in everyday life. The last stanza is somewhat the most important section of the whole poem.The complex and ambiguous few lines can be interpreted in many different ways, ending the poem with the word ‘democracy’.

The poet is trying to emphasize the ways of society today and how we shouldn’t place

anybody else above others. But unfortunately imagery can cause a lot of discrimination. Sarcasm and irony are used using the word ‘democracy’ because there is no democracy in circumstances like this. The conflict in this poem is shown between the two types of people being judged because of their imagery. The poem makes you feel sad and almost angry about how the society of today is as it stands.

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