How does the poet express the difficulties of being in a minority?
In the poem ‘Search for my tongue’ Bhatt has expressed how through her
own personal experience she has found learning a new language to be
difficult physically and emotionally. Throughout the poem she has
conveyed how her ‘mother language’ Gujarati slowly started to erode,
as she took on her ‘foreign tongue’ English. She shows this through
not only the vocabulary of the poem but the structure etc too.
The intention of the poem is to convey how although learning a new
language is extremely difficult, your ‘mother tongue’ will always
remain an essential part of your identity. Bhatt is worried that she
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She repeats ‘tongue’ and uses the image of
having ‘two tongues in your mouth’ to try to convey the difficulty of
it to the reader. The next part of the poem explains how when she is
asleep she dreams in her mother tongue, it is the middle of the poem
and the centre of the conflict she is experiencing as she feels she is
not content with either language and worries she may lose her Indian
Identity by taking on the second language as she is stuck between
cultures. In line 12 the ‘mother tongue’ seems to take on physical
characteristics of something organic. The voice moves to first person
‘I thought I spit it out’ and the verbs move into the present tense
suddenly making it feel personal and immediate. However when the
reader first sees the poem there eyes are immediately drawn straight
to the centre of the poem where the Gujarati is written in phonetic
transcript. This is a visual reinforcement that our ‘mother language’
is at the centre of our identity and alerts the reader to the
difficulty of the language as most of the readers ‘mother tongues’
will be English and will not understand the foreign language Gujarati.
The last part of the poem describes how her ‘mother tongue’ grows
back. When she most expects it to be forgotten it has grown stronger
and ‘pushes the other tongue aside’.
The vocabulary used in the poem helps Bhatt to express the difficulty
of how it feels to be in a minority. The metaphor ‘dream’ represents
both a dream overnight and something she wants to happen. Bhatt wants
more people to realise the...