An Unknown Girl

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An
 Unknown
 Girl
 
 

 
 
 In
 the
 poem
 ‘An
 Unknown
 Girl’,
 Moniza
 Alvi
 uses
 poetic
 techniques
 such
 as
  metaphors,
 personification,
 alliteration,
 repetition
 and
 similes
 in
 order
 to
 depict
  her
 struggles
 in
 rediscovering
 her
 cultural
 identity.
 Along
 with
 references
 to
  India
 and
 the
 scenery
 surrounding
 the
 narrator,
 this
 essay
 will
 also
 analyse
 the
  descriptions
 of
 India
 portrayed
 by
 the
 narrator
 through
 her
 use
 of
 poetic
  techniques.
 
 
 
 
 Alvi’s
 use
 of
 a
 metaphor
 in
 “she
 is
 icing
 my
 hand”
 creates
 an
 image
 for
 readers
  of
 henna
 work
 on
 the
 narrator’s
 hand.
 Alvi
 not
 only
 does
 this
 to
 create
 a
 strong
  image
 of
 hennaing,
 but
 she
 also
 does
 this
 to
 attract
 the
 reader’s
 interest
 through
  the
 sensual
 word
 “icing”.
 The
 incorporation
 of
 the
 senses
 gives
 readers
 insight
  into
 what
 henna
 feels
 like.
 As
 henna
 is
 a
 part
 of
 Indian
 culture,
 the
 imagery
  created
 helps
 readers
 understand
 that
 this
 is
 a
 very
 important
 aspect
 of
 the
  culture
 and
 is
 very
 important
 to
 the
 narrator
 herself.
 
 
 
 In
 accordance
 with
 that,
 the
 poet’s
 use
 of
 juxtaposition
 in
 the
 same
 line
 “icing
  my
 hand…is
 hennaing
 my
 hand”;
 a
 comparison
 between
 cultures
 is
 generated.
 As
  the
 narrator
 is
 of
 a
 culturally
 different
 upbringing,
 the
 persona
 compares
  western
 culture
 to
 her
 cultural
 identity.
 The
 word
 “icing”
 refers
 to
 the
 western
  method
 of
 icing
 cakes,
 and
 this
 is
 juxtaposed
 to
 the
 Indian
 method
 of
 hennaing.
  This
 effect
 creates
 imagery
 for
 readers,
 as
 it
 helps
 them
 imagine
 the
 contrasts
  between
 the
 two
 different
 cultures.
 Moreover,
 the
 persona’s
 recollection
 of
 her
  cultural
 identity
 is
 successfully
 depicted
 to
 readers
 from
 the
 use
 of
 juxtaposition.
 
 
 
 As
 a
 means
 of
 stressing
 the
 importance
 of
 henna
 within
 the
 persona’s
 culture,
  the
 poet
 repeats
 the
 line,
 “an
 unknown
 girl
 is
 hennaing
 my
 hand”.
 With
 this
  description
 serving
 as
 an
 insight
 into
 the
 narrator’s
 cultural
 identity,
 the
 use
 of
  repetition
 suggests
 the
 persona’s
 love
 for
 her
 culture,
 which
 is
 evidently
 to
 a
  large
 extent.
 The
 importance
 of
 henna
 in
 Indian
 culture
 is
 also
 expressed
 through
  the
 use
 of
 repetition.
 
 
 
 
 Throughout
 this
 poem,
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