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CXC POETRY: QUESTION AND SAMPLE ANSWER
Prepared by Mrs Ercelle John-Thomas for VincyClassroom.com
A SAMPLE ANSWER
QUESTION:
The poems Theme for English B and Test Match Sabina Park deal with racism or aspects of racism. For EACH poem:
a) Choose ONE important image and describe how it influences the reader’s response to the poem.
b) Describe the attitude of the speaker.
c) Identify ONE figurative device in EACH poem and discuss its effectiveness. One important image in Theme for English B is that of the college which the speaker attends. He describes it as being “on the hill above Harlem” .This description must be taken literally as well as figuratively. The word “above” is significant. We must conclude that in addition to wanting the reader to see that the college is literally an imposing structure located above Harlem, the poet wants us to recognize the contrast between the social environment of the college and that of Harlem. The college is a prestigious institution attended by persons who are mainly white, relatively wealthy and privileged. This is verified by the fact that the speaker is the only black student in his class. By contrast Harlem is peopled by the poor, the black and the underprivileged. The reader therefore also sees the college as being “above” Harlem because of the advantages that those who attend that institution have over the people in Harlem. However the speaker’s education does not make him think that he is above the people in Harlem in the sense of being better than they are. In searching for his identity, he observes: “ But I guess I’m what / I feel and see and hear, Harlem I hear you:”. He recognizes in his search for truth that Harlem has an impact on shaping who he is. At the same time, he makes it clear that he is a man of diverse tastes. He enjoys activities that people of every race and social stratum enjoy, including some that are associated with white people. He seems to be saying that he is a part of the universal human...
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