Title – Checking out me History
You can tell from this it is in 3rd person as it says “me” history.
Informal the language represents dialect
What it is about?
The narrator is trying to show the difference between black and white history
He is more proud of his black history but he is upset because its less known compared to white history
He uses metaphors to describe black history such as “Toussaint de Thorne” and “Toussaint de becon”. This shows that he has more knowledge and is more passionate about black history. It also shows that he cares more for black history too.
Repeating “dem” also makes the people who are ignoring black history more wider and makes it seem that its entire society or governing power, not just one person.
Structure – length, stanzas, punctuation
It links to the idea that in black history poetry was read out loud, as this poem is a powerful poem when read out loud.
When the narrator starts describing black history the writing is indented and in italics to show description and the difference between the two cultures. Also it highlights how separately they were taught in education and in society.
Moreover because he uses no punctuation it shows how John Agard is rebelling from the status quo, like he is teaching different history from the norm.
Feelings and ideas
The narrator is angry because he was prevented from learning about his own culture and he was aware of his heritage even though it is an important part to who he is.
By using metaphors, similes and vivid imagery when describing the black history because it is showing his admiration for his black history. It is also like he celebrating his history.
In my opinion this poem is quite heart throbbing because he is not being taught about his own culture as he is only being told about a different culture. On the other hand I support him as he should have been taught about his own culture and not the one he got told to do.
Links to themes/other poems
The main theme of this poem is identity, he is saying that people stopped him from learning about his own culture.
Also this poem is about him discovering his identity.
Furthermore power plays a big part in this poem, because John Agard is trying to empower his culture and give power to people in history that don’t normally get power.
Other poems this poem can link to are:
– Medusa: This is because both are taking different views on history, be it a Greek myth or black history. Also they both have very strong voices and portray very strong and passionate characters.
– Singh Song: They both have very cultural backgrounds, and both are very proud of it, shown by the different use of dialect. They both explore the ideas of how culture has defined them to become people who they are.
“Blind me to me own identity”
– Internal rhythm giving the poem rhythm. This metaphor shows us that he thinks society is ignoring black history and is also restricting him from his own history.