In this essay these two poems from different cultures will be compared. The similarities and differences of how the poets present characters are going to be compared and the similarities and differences of how the poets portray the people through language will also be contrasted. The people in “Two Scavengers in a Truck…” are garbage men in a “bright yellow truck” and are wearing “red plastic blazers”; this is their uniform and shows that it is not their choice to wear the primary colours which make them appear to have a simple dress- sense but they are forced to wear it. Thus, their uniform reflects their basic lifestyle.
However, the “elegant couple” who are presented stereotypically, are in an “elegant open Mercedes” which is much more stylish, fashionable and expensive in contrast to the “garbage truck”. The “elegant” man is in a “hip three- piece linen suit” which is smart and classy as oppose to the “red plastic blazers” as linen is pricier than plastic. The “elegant” man is described as having “shoulder length blond hair” and is wearing “sunglasses”, similarly the younger bin man also possesses “sunglasses and long hair”, therefore proposing that people who look similar, can have completely different jobs.
The older bin man is also depicted as having a “hunched back” like the “gargoyle Quasimodo”, the reason for this could be because he is tired from being “up since four a.m.” and working for a long period of time, unlike the “elegant couple” who are still on “the way to his architect’s office” at “nine a.m.”, therefore they have not even begun to work yet. The comparison of the bin man with the “gargoyle Quasimodo” gives the reader the image that the bin man is hideous compared to the “elegant man”.
On the other hand, the “elegant woman is “casually coifed”, meaning she is stylishly and comfortably arranged dissimilar to the garbage man with a “hunched back”. Both bin men are “grungy from their route” providing the reader with the idea that they are dishevelled and unkempt, nothing unlike the couple who are “elegant” and neat. Since the rich man is an architect, he must be well educated as oppose to the garbage men who are not particularly educated, perhaps because they did not work to the best of their ability whilst they were at school.
The characters in “Night of the Scorpion” are the peasants, mother, father, a Scorpion and a holy man. The peasants are portrayed as being religious since they “buzzed the name of God a hundred times” but also useless and unnecessary because they were unsuccessful in their search for the scorpion and could do nothing to save the life of the mother. The reader is also given the impression that the peasants are just rushing to where the excitement and the attraction is because the “peasants came like swarms of flies”, this gives the idea that the peasants are not truly concerned for the welfare of the mother.
There is a clear contrast between the peasants’ “peace of understanding” and the mother who “twisted…groaning on a mat”; it seems ironic that they are at peace due to her discomfort. The peasants say things such as “May the sins of your previous birth be burned away tonight” and “May your suffering decrease the misfortunes of your next birth” to comfort the mother, but also because they believe that good can arise from the scorpion’s bite. The mother is depicted as obviously being in pain due to her being stung by a scorpion, but more importantly though, she is also described as being selfless for the reason that she states “Thank God the scorpion picked on me and spared my children”. Accordingly, this gives the impression that the mother loves and cares for her children to the extent that she puts their safety before her own.
The father is a “sceptic” and “rationalist” so he is not superstitious whereas the peasants are because they say things such as “with every movement that the scorpion made his poison moved in mother’s blood”. Even though the father is not superstitious he still was “trying every curse and blessing, powder, mixture, herb and hybrid. He even poured a little paraffin upon the bitten toe and put a match to it.” This shows that the father really cares for the mother, and that in desperate times people would try anything regardless of whether they believed it or not.