The Fat Black Woman Composes a Poem
In order to understand the underlying messages that Grace Nichols was trying to send out through her writing, one must understand the context of “The fat black woman composes a poem” as well as the context of the entire book. The first and strongest context is racial context in the form of post-colonial racism in the United Kingdom (where she was residing at the time). Throughout the book, Nichols shows what it was like to be a minority at the time and how she deals with it. In this particular poem, Nichols uses metaphors to fight back against the racial oppression. There is also a strong cultural context, as Nichols makes reference to her “ancestor’s bread” and reminisces “the spraying of the reggae sunsplash”. The cultural is present through out the poem, and shows not only the struggle as a
The structure of this essay plays a very important role in this poem. It is a simple couplet structure. However, the simplicity and perfection of this structure are speaking for themselves, Nichols uses it to defy stereotypes. By using a literate and intelligent couplet structure she is defying the idea that immigrants are uneducated. Through this subtly audacious move, Nichols places an emphasis on the tone of defiance that is shown throughout the poem. There is also use of clever rhyming. It is simple, but it manages to show her eloquence in the English language, which further re-enforces the theme of defiance, which in turn shows the empowerment.
The intended audience plays an important role, particularly in this poem as it defines the purpose of the poem. The book was published in 1984, and Nichols was presumably in England at the time. This is what helps one see a connection between audience and purpose. Nichols was trying to empower her audience, which were most likely immigrants (or just general minorities) at the time. Through her expressive use of the word black she shows it’s versatility and capability which...
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