Discuss the feeling of displacement in Islandman. Essay

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Discuss the feeling of displacement in Islandman.


Island Man is by Grace Nichols. It is about a man who originates from the Caribbean but still dreams of his homeland, and wakes up to the sound of the sea on the sand and the caw of wild birds. He now lives in London and faces the reality of the North Circular and the monotony of Britain.

The poem of my choice is Search for my Tongue, which was written by
Sujata Bhatt. It is about what it is like to have to be able to speak a different language to her own, and what it would be like to lose it.
By the end of the poem she is convinced it will be part of her wherever she
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In England we don't have this luxury and we need to actually pay for services.

Search for my Tongue starts on a very different note and immediately asks the reader questions about what it would be like to learn a different language. This is true of the whole poem, which, it could be argued, maintains an aggressive tone all the way through. Later on the poem gets very aggressive not in tone, but in the image it portrays and the impact it has. For example:-

'You ask me what I mean by saying I have lost my tongue. I ask you

what you would do if you had two tongues in your mouth'

This first portion of the poem can be interpreted differently, depending on the way the narrator reads it or the way that you feel.
If it were to be read aloud (like it was written to be) then, to be aggressive you could but emphasis on certain words, especially the
'you's making the listener feel more vulnerable.

The next sign of displacement in Island Man is when, in the second stanza, the poet describes the morning on a Caribbean island. It is obviously not England as we don't have wild seabirds or fishermen anymore. They died, along with traditional Britain when we voted in
Socialists after the war. They let people from all different backgrounds into our country without speaking a word of English. This trend has continued and is at an all time high as we speak. For example:- 'wild seabirds and fishermen pushing out to sea the sun surfacing


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