2. Half-Caste is a person who sees himself as a mix of things and he compares it to other examples which are amazing because they are made of mixtures like paintings and symphonies. Presents from my Aunts in Pakistan is about a teenage girl who’s grown up in England and describes the presents she’s received from relatives in Pakistan. Despite thinking the clothes and jewellery are beautiful, she feels uncomfortable wearing them.
Half-Caste introduces the subject in a humorous way; he pokes fun at the term “half-caste”. The poet asks what the term “half-caste” is supposed to mean. He says if you look at things like that, that everything that’s mixed could be called half-caste, like great paintings, the weather, and classical music. The poet challenges people to explain their way if thinking, but he finds no logic in it. He mocks the idea by talking about “halves” of other things. He says people should sort their ideas out, by opening their eyes and their minds.
In Presents from my Aunts in Pakistan the poet remembers the clothes her aunts sent her when she was a teenager. When she tried the clothes on, she didn’t feel right in them – she thought they were too nice for her. She thinks of times when the cultures clashed, like the way she felt when her mum’s jewellery was stolen, how she never wore the clothes from her aunts, and how her friend didn’t like the presents. The poet tries to make sense of the vague memories she has of first coming to England, and of Pakistan. She seems to think she’ll never feel properly Pakistani or English.
In Half-Caste there is quite an argumentative tone, the style in conversational. He uses Caribbean dialect and no punctuation, which makes it sound informal and direct. “Explain yuself wha yu mean when yu say half-caste”. The conversational but aggressive tone is repeated several times. “well in dat case” The poet uses a chatty tone, like he’s reasoning with someone in an argument. “Ah looking at yu” sound like the poet is...