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Always a Suspect

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by

Sorae Kim

on 20 September 2013

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Transcript of Always a Suspect

Always a Suspect
Oswald Mbuyiseni Mtshali

Poetic Technique (Language)
Examples of formal language: Commissionaire, Scrutinized and Existence
Formal language emphasizes Mtshali's educational abilities
Helps readers understand his true nature rather than the stereotype he is in the poem
Poetic Technique (Pattern in stanzas)
Introduces every stanza with a verb
'I get up' : neutral, relaxed
'I trudge': Tiredness
Conveys a feeling of exhaustion the author experiences through out his life
Poem Analysis by Stanza
First Stanza
'Always a Suspect': Judgement from others
'Dress up like a gentlemen': gentle, classy, educated, formal
Structure
Consi
sts of 5 stanzas with three lines each
Repet
i
t
ion of the 3 lines gives sense of 'order'
Refle
cts po
ets personal qualities of being an orderly and
re
spectable
man
Last stanza
breaks regularity as it consists of 8 lines
Finalizes
message of discrimination against African Americans
Introduction
Reflection of Mtshali's personal experience as a South African living & studying in New York
Conveys message of racial discrimination
Introduction
Conveys the meaning through numerous poetic techniques such as: structure, formal language, absence of rhythmic flow, patterns of verbs and extended metaphor
Each stanza explains the message of the poem deeper
Poetic Technique (Absence of musical rhythm)
Rhyme, assonance, alliteration or onomatopoeia are absent in this poem
Lack of 'musical' effect allows the poem to seem more like a direct address
The issue the author is dealing with is serious and hurtful
Always a Suspect
by Oswald Mtshali
I get up in the morning
and dress up like a gentleman –
A white shirt a tie and a suit.

I walk into the street
to be met by a man
who tells me to ‘produce’.

I show him
the document of my existence
to be scrutinized and given the nod.

Then I enter the foyer of a building
to have my way barred by a commissionaire
‘What do you want?’

I trudge the city pavements
side by side with ‘madam’
who shifts her handbag
from my side to the other,
and looks at me with eyes that say
‘Ha! Ha! I know who you are;
beneath those fine clothes
ticks the heart of a thief.’

Title
Hints the poem's overall message

Second Stanza
'Produce': an order due to distrust and sense of suspicion
Third Stanza
Has to prove his identity by documents
His appearance being a barrier in society
Fourth Stanza
'What do you want': symbolizes doubt in poets actions
The commissionaire is judgemental due to his skin colour
Final Stanza
'Madam' shifts her hand bag as afraid he may steal it
'Madam': may work for her, uncomfortable feelings towards her
"Beneath those fine clothes/ ticks the heart of a thief": no matter how well he dresses he will still be judged for his colour
Poetic Technique (Extended metaphor)
Extended Metaphor of paths
'Walk into the
street
' / '
to be met by a man
'
'Trudge the city
pavements
' /'
my way barred by a commissionaire
'
Represent the road of path black people have to walk
I get up in the morning
and dress up like a gentleman –
A white shirt a tie and a suit.

I walk into the street
to be met by a man
who tells me to ‘produce’.

I show him
the document of my existence
to be scrutinized and given the nod.

Then I enter the foyer of a building
to have my way barred by a commissionaire
‘What do you want?’

I trudge the city pavements
side by side with ‘madam’
who shifts her handbag
from my side to the other,
and looks at me with eyes that say
‘Ha! Ha! I know who you are;
beneath those fine clothes
ticks the heart of a thief.’

Always a Suspect
by Oswald Mtshali
Full transcript