Comparing Search for my Tongue and Presents From My Aunts in Pakistan

Comparing Search for my Tongue and Presents From My Aunts in Pakistan

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Comparing Search for my Tongue and Presents From My Aunts in Pakistan

The writer, Moniza Alvi, reveals her past in her poem Presents from my
Aunts in Pakistan. The poem shows the reader her feelings for
Pakistan, the country she was born in. The line "of no fixed
nationality" sums up the mood of the poem, that because she lives in
England, speaks English but is from Pakistan, she does not seem to
belong anywhere.
The poem Search for my Tongue, written by Sujata Bhatt, is similar to
Presents from my Aunts in Pakistan, The line "I thought I spit it out"
refers to the metaphor the whole poem is based on, that to speak two
languages, to be a part of two cultures, is just as difficult as
speaking with two tongues at once.
While both poems are to inform the reader about the awkwardness of
being of mixed race, the authors go about it in different ways. Moniza
Ali shows the contrast in cultures by making the description of her
presents from her aunts in Pakistan as vivid and exciting as possible:
"glistening like an orange split open" and "embossed slippers". This
creates an image in the reader's mind of Pakistan being a vibrant,
exciting place. Moniza Ali compares this with the clothing she herself
would prefer: "jeans and corduroy" just so that she can fit in with
her friends. This makes the reader emphasize with her struggle to
belong.
Sujata Bhatt uses a different technique to inform the reader about the
struggle to belong. She uses the two meanings of "mother tongue", the
first meaning being the tongue you literally speak with and the second
the language you first learn to speak. This is her way of showing the
reader how she is afraid not to remember her past and her native
language.
Both poems use nature to help their poems come to life; in Presents
from my Aunts in Pakistan Moniza Alvi uses fruits to describe the
vividly coloured presents: "orange split open,' "apple green sari".

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This creates an impression of excitement. This is a clever technique
to use as it reveals her emotions as a child: the presents were
brilliant yet could disrupt the world she was living in.
Sujata Bhatt uses nature at first to describe the fear of losing her
"mother tongue". One line in particular shows this idea in a
disgusting way: "rot and die". It shows that she believes she has not
looked after her first language skills and now they have withered like
a flower. She then uses nature to describe how, every time she thinks
she has forgotten it, "it blossoms out of my mouth". This was an
effective device to use as it shows that she can never really forget;
like the seasons it comes and goes but she cannot forget it
completely.
Both poems are unusual and are written to the reader but both have a
deeper message. A quote from Presents from my Aunts in Pakistan sums
up Alvi's poem also: "staring through the fretwork at the Shalimar
Gardens" tells the reader that even though she is fully accepted in
both of her cultures, she feels she will never be allowed completely
to enter, she will always be at a distance.
This contrasts with Search for my Tongue because Alvi seems to wish
she had one nationality or another while Bhatt's dream is to fit fully
into both cultures; she speaks of "if you had both tongues in your
mouth" but she knows she never will as they would be too squashed and
neither would be either to work fully.
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