Study the way in which ‘Half-caste’ and ‘Nothings changed’ display their attitudes towards racism The poem ‘Half caste’ is written by the poet John Agard, who was born in South America, with parents from mixed nationalities. The poem ‘Nothings changed’ is by Tatamkhulu Afrika who was raised as a white South African. The poems ‘half caste’ and ‘nothings changed’ have the same theme to both of the poems, and that theme is racism.
In the poem ‘nothings changed’ the poem is about a black man who grew up in an all black, white segregated area, he despised the segregation in this society, and he comes back to this place expecting to see that the area has changed and there is no longer any segregation, but is shocked to see that racism (segregation) still exists in the area. The poem ‘half caste’ is about a half caste man speaking to an audience and debating the idea of half caste. In both poems the person in the poem despises racism; both people have suffered from racism.
In the poem ‘half caste’ the man uses a conversational and chatty tone ‘excuse me, standing on one leg, I’m half-caste’ he uses humour to get through to the audience but still it sends the message to them that he hates the idea of racism, and the humour of this quotation also shows that the idea of half-caste is laughable. He does not rant on about his argument but puts into a simple way for everyone to understand, very much like the famous Martin Luther king Jr with his speech ‘ I have a dream… ‘.
His (John Agards poem) tone and words are very comical and carry hints of sarcasm (and sometimes more than just a hint). He uses sentences like this very often ‘explain yuself, wha ya mean, when yu say half-caste’, the tone in this quotation is straightforward, harsh, and very sarcastic. The poem ‘nothings changed’ carries many similarities with the poem ‘half caste’, Afrika uses a very harsh tone just as half caste uses a harsh tone. ‘Into trouser cuffs, cans trodden on, crunch’. This shows the hateful tone Afrika uses.
Afrika uses one syllable words ‘cuffs, cans, crunch’ this makes the tone snappy and hard hitting, this shows that he is angry and is expressing his anger through the tone, while using mono-syllabic words to show this. The poem ‘nothings changed’ has no references of rhyme to it; consequently it is free verse which means that the poem has no rhyme to it. Free verse gives the effect that the poem is slightly like a story. The point of this is to make the reader seem as if you are following the person in the poem.