How Is the Theme of Conflict Presented in a Selection of Poems?

Topics: Poetry, Anger, Stanza Pages: 6 (2203 words) Published: May 12, 2013
How the theme of conflict (emotional, physical and personal) is presented a selection of poems.

The poem ‘Search for my tongue ‘portrays the conflict between the bi-lingual speaker’s mother and foreign tongue. For instance the poem states: ‘and if you lived in a place you had to speak a foreign tongue, your mother tongue would rot’. This depiction of her mother tongue rotting creates grotesque imagery; it illustrates the conflict she has of trying to keep it and also portrays how by losing it she would also loose part of herself, suggesting the loss of culture and identity. This quote also reflects her fears of letting the foreign tongue take over and she fears that it will result in loosing herself. The poem also exhibits harsh diction through her difficulty of speaking two languages, for example the words ‘rot’, ‘die’’ and ‘spit’, these words evoke destruction and insinuates the conflict between the two tongues. The repetition of these words also elaborates the frustration and anger she feels towards this.

The conflict that is exhibited in this poem is very much like the conflict that is evoked in the poem ‘Island man’. This poem exhibits the inner turmoil that is ensued by his homesickness. ‘The island man’ uses structure to depict the confliction and confusion of his waking thoughts. The poem has no punctuation, and some words are misplaced, as is the individual: "he always comes back groggily groggily". Like 'Island Man', this implies the confusion that sets in when in a dream state and the muddled feelings he has between his homeland and London. In addition to this, the disorder of his feelings and the conflict that is established is also shown through his contrast of imagery. For example, "the sound of the blue surf" of the Caribbean conflicts with, the "grey metallic soar" of London. The imagery he has used to describe his island reflects the positive emotions he feels when thinking about his homeland. This positive construction of the island clashes with the ‘grey metallic soar’ of London, the harsh depiction that he illustrates clearly manifests the negativity he feels and also creates a sense of apprehension, he is still not used to living so far from his island and feels misplaced therefore causing his confliction.

Furthermore, the poem ‘Not my business’ also shows conflict. His conflict is not only based on the injustice that was taking place at the time but also his thoughts on whether he should interfere. The protagonist in this poem seems to be distancing himself from the blatant unfair treatment to the people he knows. The language that is used in each stanza depicts the fate of each of his acquaintances, and the uneasiness that he feels when witnessing it. The presentation of conflict between people is clearly evident when he describes Akanni being beaten ‘soft like clay’, the harsh graphic image that is evoked by this description is used to describe the poet’s true feelings towards the conflict. The word ‘soft’ also illustrates the loss of hope and despair that they feel. Another form of confliction that is shown in this poem is how the poet begins to ponder on the same question at the end of each stanza, whether or not it is his business to intervene. The constant repetition of this stanza advocates that he is seeking assurance as if to convince himself that what he is doing is morally correct, however it is clearly evident that the situation is persistently bothering him, therefor causing him to grow more doubtful over his actions as the each event unfolds.

The poem ‘Nothing’s changed’ portrays the conflict caused by racism in South Africa. Although the unfair treatment of black people was supposed to have diminished, it was still present, hence the tile ‘Nothing’s changed’. The language used in this poem elucidates the negative emotions that are being emitted by the poet, for example; ‘and the hot white, inwards, turning anger of my eyes’, this quote depicts the anger and resentment...
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