Comparing Culture in the Poems, What Were They Like, and Night of the Scorpion

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The poem “What were they like” can be compared to the poem “Night of the scorpion.” They are both related to culture. In “What were they like”, the poet describes events about the Vietnamese people before the war and in “Night of the scorpion”, the poet is describing an event that happened to his mother. Both poems are related to culture and they use poetry as a form of story telling. In the poem “What were they like”, it is showing the relations of the Vietnamese people amongst each other. It is showing how the people got together for “ceremonies to reverence the opening of buds.” This shows that they must have been a close community and it also shows that this must have been the tradition of their ancestors. Similarly, in “Night of the…show more content…
This can be shown by phrases the poet uses; “A dream ago perhaps”, “It is not remembered”, “There is an echo yet”. All these phrases suggest that the Vietnamese people and their culture have been long forgotten. In contrast to this, in “Night of the scorpion”, there is a strong sense of culture and this culture also leads to faith and religion. The people “buzz the name of god a hundred times to paralyse the evil one.” Also, in their culture they also believe that if you stop the scorpion, the poison will not spread. By this, we can also see how their culture is a lot different to ours. We would go to the hospital rather than buzz the name of god. In “Night of the scorpion”, repetition is used with the word “May” and people are presented using lots of speech and continuously chanting and talking. But, they are only doing this to pray for the mother. This repetition of their prayers may also make us think that they have memorized them and they are not saying it sincerely. These prayers may have been taught to them since they were little by their ancestors. However, this also shows their sense of culture as they have not forgotten what their ancestors did and said. There is also repetition of ‘p’ in “Parting with his poison.” The ‘p’ sounds very harsh and as if the process was quick. In contrast to this “What were they like” uses no repetition. The poem is set out in simple questions
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