S-Cool Revision Summary
S-Cool Revision Summary
The poem is about how Alvi felt as a young girl about her cultural identity.
She felt English, but was attracted to Pakistan, and confused and even repelled by it.
There are some feelings of guilt about this uncertain attitude. There is a general sense of a young person trying to work who they are.
The clothes are made to sound vibrant and attractive, but this is balanced by the final stanzas, where we hear more negative things about the poet's 'home' country: For example 'conflict', and 'beggars'.
This is a poem specifically about the poet's feelings and attitudes.
Alvi, as a young girl, felt a mixture of emotions about her cultural identity:
Wonder, excitement, inadequacy, guilt, confusion, attraction, awe, discomfort, and alienation - many emotions common to teenagers.
The poem uses a lot of visual detail to make us see the brightness and colour of Pakistan.
This use of visual detail is appropriate in a poem about how someone sees them self.
The personal nature of the poem is shown by the number of times the poet uses the pronouns 'I', or 'my'.
The form of the poem is irregular, with lines starting at different places, and being of different lengths. This creates a slightly unsettled, fluid feel to the poem, reflecting the poet's feelings about her identity.
The poem is about the feelings of the poet towards his uncle. The uncle is a highly skilled craftsman, but he is poor because the world prefers cheaper mass-produced furniture.
This makes the uncle turn inwards; he finds deep within himself a sense of ancient anger, an anger that is no good to him.
The poem is full of praise for the uncle and anger at the way he has been neglected by the world. The poet feels pity for the terrible effects the neglect and poverty has had on his uncle.
The poet appears to understand the uncle's situation but feels powerless to help.
Brathwaite uses sensual imagery, enjambment, onomatopoeia and alliteration to create the sights and sounds of the workshop.
Later he employs a metaphor of a journey to explain the process of the sculpting.
The final image of the idol is very vivid and visual.
The poem is about a revelatory experience in which the poet/character changes their perspective completely.
At first the beggar annoys the poet. He is aloof, distant and thinks of her as a pest.
But the image of her suffering utterly changes his view. Suddenly it is him who feels humble and small in comparison to the beggar woman.
The poem is about the poet's thoughts and feelings. The poet passes through a considerable range of emotions, from irritation to the almost mystical, religious experience of the concluding stanzas.
The poem is also about how all of us judge, or misjudge each other.
Hence the use of the second person pronoun in 'You've seen it already', and 'You know how old women are.' Through this we are made to evaluate our own attitudes to the poor and vulnerable, and perhaps feel some guilt too.
The poem's language splits into two halves: The bored, ordinary language of the first half, and the elaborate metaphorical language of the second.
Repetition is used in both halves but to very different effects. The repetition in the second half conveys the transfixed wonder of the poet watching the scene change:
'And the hills crack/ And the temples crack./ and the sky falls.'
The fact that the form remains constant subtly helps to make convincing the idea that it is the same character experiencing both halves of the poem.
The poem is about the experience of coming to terms with a new life and a different culture. It is about how we adapt to new circumstance and can temporary lose sight of who we are.
The character in the poem has felt disconnected from her environment because it seems so different.
The storm is a metaphor for a big event that re-connects the character with her full sense of herself and her cultural heritage. This re-connecting also extends to the two places.
She realises at the end of the poem that there is continuity between her experience and between England and the West Indies.
She realises that beneath the surface differences human experience is the same.
The character initially feels separate form her new environment and from aspects of her self. The poem is about re-connection.
The feelings are of confusion, empowerment, excitement and release.
The character feels unchained by the end of the poem. She has regained a full sense of who she is and where she lives. She feels a part of things, natural in her new environment and home.
Nichols uses a lot of poetic devices to convey the drama of the inner and outer storms.
The exuberance and energy of the poetry matches the character's feelings.
Repetition is used to create a sense of immediacy and excitement
The poem is like a way of thinking. The character asks a lot of questions. After the first stanza it is in the present tense, so that we feel the emotions at the same time as the character does.
The poem is about the state of South Africa and the poet's feelings about it.
Africa had obviously hoped to see improvements after the fall of the Apartheid government. Instead he sees things have hardly changed.
In some ways they have got worse. The barriers and racism are now subtler, and perhaps therefore more difficult to confront.
The poem ends with the poet's hands burning for violence to destroy all the injustice he can see.
The poem is full of anger. It is a protest, and a cry of pain.
Rather than the white culture feeling guilt and making some kind of recompense for its years of oppression and murder, the 'brash' restaurant symbolises confidence, even arrogance, certainly not shame.
The poet uses sensual imagery to convey the sense of the surrounding. The opening line is 5 separate monosyllables that we see 'small, round', touch 'hard', and hear 'click'.
In the second stanza he uses repetition and a lengthening line to convey the build up of his anger, and how it consumes every part of him.
The stanza on the 'whites only inn' is in the middle of the poem.
There are a lot of full stops used in the poem, with the last one sounding final, unanswerable, certain: