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Minority by Imtiaz dharker
Transcript of Minority by Imtiaz dharker
Pakistan-born British poet
Artist and documentary filmmaker.
Splits life between England and India - the cultural differences affect her work
She has won the Queen’s gold medal for her English poetry.
The poem is interpreted differently by many, these are the two most common interpretations of the theme and message of the poem:
"This poem is meant to convey the message that there is beauty in abnormality, meaning that the people that are often considered outsiders are the truly spectacular ones, as well as the idea of unity in being different."
The speaker in the poem insightfuly depicts the feeling of being a foreigner in many places. The poem starts with the line: "I was born a foreigner", you may wonder how can one be born a foreigner? Sadly nowadays in many western countries the children of immigrants can be made to feel this way. The whole of the poem concentrates on the concept of feeling like a foreigner and not fitting in.
Minority by Imtiaz dharker
All stanzas use images of food and images associated with language to develop the foreigners lack of belongings. The speaker says of themselves that they “don’t fit, like a clumsily-translated poem” which is also simile.
The poem begins “I was born a foreigner” using the 1st person point of view to present a personal, internal feeling which allows the reader to identify and relate to the speaker – the foreigner.
In the first stanza, the speaker focuses on establishing that they are a foreigner mentioning that they are foreign ” even in the place planted with their relatives.”
This means that the foreigner feels foreign even in presence of their loved ones.
3rd, 4th and 5th Stanza
"Minority gives a very insightful depiction of what it feels like to be “foreign” in many places. "
Stanza by stanza
The speaker tells us “I don’t fit”.
She compares herself to “food cooked in milk of coconut where you expected ghee or cream” or an “unexpected aftertaste of cardamom or neem”.
Imtiaz uses taste to describe a feeling, the feeling of being an outcast, not fitting in,
she also includes some relations to her own multicultural background which is pakistani and hindi.
The 3rd stanza uses the simile of the speaker not fitting in, “like a clumsily-translated poem.”
The following stanza then compares the speaker to food that was prepared with an unexpected substitution of ingredients.
In the 5th stanza the meaning behind both of these similes is revealed, in the clumsily-translated poem, there is always a spot where “the language flips into an unfamiliar taste,” similar to the unfamiliar taste given from an ingredient substitution in a meal
These clumsily chosen words and substituted ingredients both are similes regarding the lack of fitting in and the sensation of being different
6th to 8th Stanza
There are two main messages to be taken from this use of simile and metaphor. The first is that the foreigner is unable to be properly communicating to the rest of the world
The second is that the society in which the “foreigner” finds himself is so obsessed on how he is different
The speaker describes the poem that he is writing as “growing scab of black on white.” The speaker means that the ink is like a scab on the beautiful paper.
The seventh stanza shows the words “scratching their way into the reader’s head.” The word “scratch” indicates process in which the words of the poem make their way into the brain of the unwilling reader.
It then personifies these words as foreigners by describing them “immigrating into the reader’s bed, squatting in the reader’s home, and in a corner, and eating the reader’s bread.
Emily. "A Poem for Every Day." A Poem for Every Day. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 June 2015. <http://emilyspoetryblog.com/2013/10/09/minority-by-imtiaz-dharker/>.
Powell, Simon. "Imtiaz Dharker Bibliography." British Council Literature. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 June 2015. <http%3A%2F%2Fliterature.britishcouncil.org%2Fimtiaz-dharker>.