Thursday, October 10, 2019

Checkin’ Out Me History Essay

Toussaint L’Ouverture, Mary Seacole, Shaka the Zulu. Have you ever heard of them? If not, it is probably because from a young age, we have all been taught history but were we given all the facts or just being ignorant? Many of the historic and inspirational figures we have learnt about are based in the culture of England but what about the black historic figures because some of these made a huge difference to our lives. John Agard is a poet from Guyana who writes passionately but often and politically and seriously. In one of his poems-â€Å"Checkin’ out me history† he questions why some of these great black historic leading figures were pushed away when they truly deserve our respect. In this essay, I will investigate the following question-â€Å"How does Agard use language and structure to convey his feelings in ‘Checkin’ out me history’? † In Agard’s use of language, he has purposely written some of the words in phonetic spelling. For instance he has said â€Å"dem† instead of â€Å"them† and when you are reading the poem out loud, no matter how hard you try not to, you will hear a Caribbean accent because writing in phonetics will force the reader into the accent even if they don’t want to. I think he wants them to speak in this way because the poem is based on how his heritage is being pushed away and since he is black, he wants to show who he really is and he wants to bring back his heritage by speaking in a black dialect. In addition to this he uses structure to portray his feelings in relation to his heritage. For instance he has made the stanzas on the black historic figures very thin in comparison to the other stanzas because they are quite wide. I think he has made the lay out this way because of how black historic figures are being pushed aside and it isn’t fair. Another way to look at this is that the other stanzas are wide because they are told more often and more widely over the world because of the historic figures mentioned in it. But a more positive way to look at it is that, Agard has put the stanzas this way because the black figures are more unique. Also Agard shows his annoyance by repeating the line ‘dem tell me’, I think he is repeating this line so he can show that his heritage being pushed away isn’t fair and he is serious about the topic he is talking about. Also by repeating the line, it is as if he is protesting against the fact that his heritage is being pushed away. When he is repeating the line, you can tell he is serious and won’t stop until justice is done. I personally think that he is quite accurate in what he is saying because where is the logic in shoving away some of the best historic figures just because they are black. It just isn’t fair on the people who come from a black heritage. Agard is really accurate in the way he describes the black historic figures included in this poem because of the way the description links with the real historic facts. For example: â€Å"Toussaint de thorn to de French†-this is really accurate because Toussaint was a great general who defended his country Saint Dominique against the French Colonies. Also the word choice suggests this because a thorn protects a rose and when Agard is referring to Toussaint as the thorn, it links with how he protected his country (the rose in this metaphor) from the hands of the French. Another point to be made is that by referring to Toussaint as a thorn can also suggest that he didn’t cause extreme damage, he only pricked them and when you get pricked by a thorn, you get annoyed which is how the French must have felt because they were a huge empire and they couldn’t drive the small island of Saint Dominique into submission so I’m sure they must have been feeling irritated. Now lets move on to the loving and caring Mary Seacole who was brave and skilled with medicine as she set off to the Crimean war even though people warned her not to go but she didn’t care because she wanted to save those soldiers lives and she would risk her own life to do it and even her own money but still many people have pushed her away from history. So lets have a look at the way Agard describes her in ‘Checkin’ out me history’-‘A healing star among the wounded’-Mary Seacole is referred to as a ‘healing star’ and a star is very high up in the sky so it forces the people to look up at it and when you look up at someone, it means you respect them, what it can also mean is that they can be your idol because you look for their guidance and follow in their footsteps. A biblical reference to this quote be that the three kings followed the bright star to get to baby Jesus. Also a star is known to link magic, which is like when people make a wish upon a star, they believe it to be magical. The soldiers involved in the Crimean war were also probably trying to make a wish because they thought they were going to die but then Mary Seacole came ready to help, the soldiers’ faith changed and their wish was granted. Another thing to be mentioned is that star can only be seen when it is dark like when you are walking in daytime, you can not see the stars at all because the sun light will block them out so you don’t notice them, but when you are camping in the woods and you look up in the night sky, you see they are all shining brightly. Since the Crimean war was going on, lots of people were dying and wounded every day and it truly was a really dark time. Then when all hope was lost, Mary Seacole appeared. Lastly ‘healing would suggest that she mended he wounded After having that long discussion about Mary Seacole, lets move on to another great women that took part in this poem. Nanny of the Maroons, a woman who had a great dream and lead many slaves to freedom. Lets explore the way Agard describes in this quote-‘see-far woman of mountain dream’-this shows that she is very strong and rugged just like a mountain. Also a mountain has a sharp point, which can link with her being smart. Mountain dream could also suggest a dream of freedom from slavery. My last point to be made is that since she built a town upon a mountain, she would look down upon people who are selfish and people would look up to her and respect her. Now that we have looked at the historical figures, lets have a look at John Agard himself and his personal feelings towards his heritage being pushed away. Here lets look at the evidence-‘ Bandage up me eye with me own history’- Agard must be feeling restricted, helpless and maybe even angry because he is from the Caribbean and from a young age he has learnt about English history but not his own black history. He must be feeling restricted because he probably feels that other people are stopping him from seeing his own heritage and history. Another point to be made is that most of the historic figures we learn about today are white, we should really be more considerate and learn about the black historic figures as well because there were many great historic leaders and figures who were black. Also if you were really blinded you would be unaware of where you are going and you would stress and be quite scared. To conclude this questionable topic by telling you my personal feelings on this poem, John Agard’s poem is very accurate in the message it is sending out because it is quite true in that we are actually pushing away black culture and learning more about our own (English) history instead of being diverse, we are still learning about the same things. I feel that this poem is written in a very entertaining way but also gets the message out to the audience very nicely. I also agree with the message being sent.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.