Compare the Speaker in Night of the Scorpion by Nissin Ezekiel and Nothing's Changed by Tatamkhulu Afrika.

Topics: Poetry, Black people, White people Pages: 4 (1130 words) Published: November 11, 2007
Night of the Scorpion is set in a poor, tight-knit community in Egypt. We can tell this because the villagers believe in the fight against good and evil, they use curses and chants to take away pain and the medicines used are herbal. They even resort to trying to burn out the sting of the scorpion; ‘He even poured a little paraffin upon the bitten toe and put a match to it'. The poverty of the community is also reflected in the fact that they do not have a bed to lay the woman on they just have a mat on the floor. ‘My mother twisted through and through, groaning on a mat. The villagers are referred to as peasants showing the length to which the poverty goes.

Other things which tell us about the poem's culture are; the sack of rice which the scorpion hides beneath, the mud-baked walls that the small hut is made of, the candles and lanterns used instead of lights and the way that the people believe that pain can purify you and that ambition and desire are evil. All these things suggest poverty, poor education and underdevelopment and the rice tells us it is an Asian country.

Nothing's changed is similar in that it also describes a poverty stricken community but in this poem the poverty has been forced upon the people whereas in The Night of the Scorpion they have probably always been poor. Nothing's changed shows the contrast between the lives and assets of the blacks and the lives and assets of the whites in Africa just after the African apartheid was meant to have stopped.

In both poems the communities seem to be very close but the community in Nothing's change seems a lot more homely and loving; ‘working man's café sells bunny chows…wipe your fingers on your jeans, spit a little on the floor: it's in the bone.'

The poems personas are very similar: they are both the writer of the poem revisiting something in their childhood, reinterpreting it as adults but at the same time remembering their childhood feelings. They are also both written in the first...
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