Moniza Alvi and Grace Nichols' Feelings of Living in England

Moniza Alvi and Grace Nichols' Feelings of Living in England

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Moniza Alvi and Grace Nichols' Feelings of Living in England

Moniza Alvi and Grace Nichols convey their thoughts and feelings about
living in England and having roots in another culture through their
poetry. Moniza Alvi was born in England and her father was from
Pakistan. Grace Nichols was born in Guyana. I can understand coming
from another culture and living in a different country like England
can be complex and difficult but at the same time new and exciting.
Firstly, Moniza Alvi and Grace Nichols are influenced by different
cultures. Naturally, they can offer to our culture, as Britain is a
multicultural country.

One of the characteristics of Caribbean literature is the strong sense
of place, which can clearly be read in the 'Island Man'. The quote "
the sound of the blue surf " makes it more appealing to the senses and
uses pathetic fallacy. This makes it more interesting as the pathetic
fallacy gives you the feeling of the Caribbean climate. The cultural
identity of Moniza Alvi's poems is her heritage and traditions. For
instance, in 'Presents from my Aunts in Pakistan' she creates images
of the Salwar Kameez using words like "peacock-blue", "glistening like
an orange split open". Here she has used metaphor and simile to
emphasis the beauty of the presents and makes it appealing to the

I found reading 'The Fat Black Woman goes Shopping' a bit difficult
because it is written in colloquial style. The constant use of "de"
would sound much better if it is read with a Caribbean accent. The
voice of the narrator in 'Invitation' sounds confident because using
oxymoron the writer has used the narrator's weight to describe her
beauty. Moniza Alvi also uses words from her second language like
"chador", which makes the poem more cultural and different from Grace
Nicholas poems or any other poems. In 'I would like to be a dot in a
Painting by Miro' I think the narrator here sounds confused whether
she wants to be the same as everyone else or different.

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But in the end
she decides being different is better as it is more interesting.
'Throwing out my Father's Dictionary' has a narrative tone and the
enjambment helps it. This is effective as the sad mood is set because
the poem has a hidden story behind. This is that her father had to
accept English as his second language and had to learn to live with
this for the rest of his life. I think the dictionary is used as a
metaphor for his second language.

The poem 'Invitation' has an irregular form as it is split in two
sections. 'Epilogue' is a quatrain. The persona of this poem is about
someone from Caribbean moves to live in England. But I think the
deeper meaning of this poem is 'The Middle Passage'. Not many of Grace
Nichols' poems use punctuation so most of the poems are enjambment. I
think he has written these poems like this because he wants us to
concentrate on the content of the poems. Comparatively, Moniza Alvi's
poems have a more regular form. For example, in 'Fish' each stanza has
two lines. I think this is written in this way as this poem is sensual
and can transcend other cultures as well. Although, not all her poems
are written in regular form for example, "Presents from my Aunts in
Pakistan" she has written in an irregular form because I think this is
a personal poem to her.

Imagery from 'Invitation' really stood out to me because it is very
sensual for example, " my breasts are huge exciting amnions of
watermelons". This is central to what the poem is trying to say that
is, even if someone is fat you should treat him or her with respect
and not make fun of his or her size. In 'Hurricane Hits England' the
poet has used rhetorical questions to conjure and atmosphere of
melancholy and makes us think about the hurricane. "Embossed slippers,
gold and black points curling", "an apple-green sari" are just some of
the words used to describe the presents from 'Presents from me Aunts
in Pakistan'. She also uses oxymoron in this poem, "the cruelty and
the transformation" to show that she has mixed feelings. This adds to
my understanding that the Pakistani culture is very colourful. In '
Throwing out my Father's Dictionary' personification is used, "words
grow shoots in the bin". This suggests that new words are growing
maybe into a different language or culture.

The two poets have some similarities in their style of writing. They
use the metaphorical of cultural identity through sensitive
descriptions using the five senses. Their poems are written in first
person so we know what the narrator feels like thus, making the reader
more involved. The persona of both the poets reminds the reader the
poems are related to their culture in some way making it different
from other poems. The use of emotive language and voice helps to set
the mood of the poems. Imagery is a very strong technique used by
Moniza Alvi and Grace Nichols to create strong images of their culture
in the readers mind.

After researching that Grace Nichols wrote a book about 'Fat Black
Woman' I obviously think he likes writing about 'Fat Black Woman'
because I think he is trying to prove his point. I think he is trying
to teach society that you shouldn't judge others by their looks. He
emphasis this through using his emotive language and makes the reader
feel empathy towards the 'Fat Black Woman'. On the other hand, I think
Moniza Alvi considers herself more English than Pakistani because in
'Throwing out my Father's Dictionary' she says "I daren't inscribe my
name" to show her respect for her father and it implies that isn't her
culture. In the end, both poets' messages are quite similar which is
that culture and traditions are part of who you are and you should be
proud of it.

I really enjoyed reading the poems. Grace Nichols really made me
understand the Caribbean environment from 'Island Man and 'Hurricane
hits England'. She has also made her point clear about not judging
others by their looks, which I agree with, because I think its what
inside that counts. I can relate more to Moniza Alvi's poems because I
come from India. The Pakistani culture and the Indian culture are
quite similar. The saris, the Salwar Kameez, the henna are just some
of the things that can be related to both, the Indian and the
Pakistani culture. The poem that I most enjoyed was 'I Would like to
be a Painting by Miro' because I really liked the idea of using the
painting to reflect her message of being different. It is surreal and
creates a positive effect on the reader's mind.
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