Presents from my Aunts in Pakistan – Analysis
Presents from my Aunts in Pakistan by Moniza Alvi depicts an Afghani girl trying to find her cultural identity and explores the issue of being torn between two cultures. This is through the poet’s experience of receiving ethnic clothing from her relatives in Pakistan, her culture and race is mixed making her feel like she does not belong in the community. The traditional clothes are described carefully in order to express their difference from British clothing. Place is used to show how she feels uncomfortable, trying on her presents from Pakistan the glass bangle that “drew blood”. She mentions feeling “alien”, “half-English” and having “no fixed nationality” which are direct statements about the poet’s conflict of identity and how she does not fit in.
Her family try to encourage her to wear the traditional cultural clothes, describing them with lots of visual imagery and colour depicting the clothing as looking strange and almost to colourful for English fashion. “…peacock-blue…glistening like an orange split open, embossed slippers, gold and black”. Even the jewellery that her relatives have sent her hurt and are uncomfortable showing conflict in the two countries, “Candy-striped glass bangles snapped, drew blood”. “Broad and stiff then narrow” depicts that she fills uncomfortable or “stiff” giving the impression that she feels like she doesn’t fit in if she wears the clothes her relatives sent her. The last line of stanza one places the persona as a teenager showing her lack of freedom and maturity.
The metaphor, “alien in the sitting- room” is powerful and shows how she doesn’t belong in these clothes, she is an outcast. She is insecure as the clothes are too beautiful for her “I could never be as lovely as those clothes-“. Desperate to fit in, “I longed…my costume clung to me” emphasises her feeling of suffocation. She is embarrassed of her identity, wearing her costume she feels like she “was...
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