Checking out me History by John Agard


This is information about the poem; Checking out me History by John Agrad from the Character and Voice cluster. Good Luck :)
Eleanor Simmonds
Mind Map by Eleanor Simmonds, updated more than 1 year ago
Eleanor Simmonds
Created by Eleanor Simmonds about 9 years ago

Resource summary

Checking out me History by John Agard
  1. About the Poem
    1. The poem is spoken in an Afro-Caribbean voice describing and reacting to what he has been taught in school
      1. He mocks education confined to the main events and people in British History which are as irrelevant to him as nursery rhymes.
        1. The achievements made by people from other cultures are missing from his education, leaving him struggling to understand his own history and identity.
          1. The poem ends with a desision to fill in the missing details.
          2. Ideas, Themes and Issues
            1. Personal Identity
              1. Our sense of indentity begins in childhood and is closely linked to our history, culture and language
              2. Colonialism
                1. When the British Empire colonised countries in the 19th and 20th Centuries children were often educated in English and taught only British History
                2. History
                  1. History is selective and is often written by the strongest side in any conflict. There are always two sides, but often only one gets heard.
                  2. Rebellion
                    1. The Caribbean figures in the poem had no power and were forced to rebel to change their situation, just as the voice in the poem had to.
                  3. Form, Structure and Language
                    1. The free verse form, lack of punctuation and use of Creole in the poem could reflect the voice's refusal to use conventional English forms and Standard English.
                      1. The tone is mocking in places but becomes increaslingly defiant as the words 'dem tell me' are repeated
                        1. Metaphors linking to the Caribbean figures to light are a contrast to the images of blindness that describe his Eurocentric education. These images create a link between understanding your own cultureand the ideas of enlightenment.
                          1. In consistent rhymes and half rhymes reflect the voice's missing knowledge and feeling of incompleteness
                            1. The shorter italicised lines draw out attention to the significant historical figures. These lines sound incantatory as though the voicein the poem is calling them to life.
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