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Contrasts in the Poems Two Scavengers in a Truck and Island Man'

  • Date Submitted: 12/27/2010 05:56 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 54.3 
  • Words: 313
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Both 'Island Man' and 'Two Scavengers in a Trucks, Two Beautiful People in a Mercedes' contrast people and ways of life. 'Island Man' contrasts the double existence of the West Indian resident in London ;   Two Scavengers in a Trucks, Two Beautiful People in a Mercedes'   contrasts two couples in San Francisco.

In 'Island Man' the principal contrast is that of the Caribbean island and London. The poet, Grace Nichols, contrasts the peaceful, calming sights of blue surf, the sun reflected in water, and emerald vegetation to the bus frantic and dismal sights of the grey North Circular Road. He also contrasts the tranquil sounds of surf water breaking on the shore to the dismal roar of traffic and the 'surge of wheels'. This poem is about the contrast between a peaceful life close to nature (fishermen) and the mechanical life of North Circular Road.

In Two Scavengers in a Trucks, Two Beautiful People in a Mercedes'   the principal contrast between rich(two beautiful people in a Mercedes) and poor ( two scavengers in a truck). They inhabit different worlds even in the 'democratic' USA. The poet emphasises the contrast by comparing objects: vehicles and dress. He also makes contrast within the couples age and gender. The emphasis on dress is the bright red uniforms of scavengers and the 'cool' elegance of the man's 'hip' three piece suit and the woman's short skirt and colourful leggings.

Contrast is a way of making a point ironically. Irony is achieved by the reader becoming aware of meaning in the difference. The difference are not mere accidents but bold points. Nichols' contrasts tell us what the West Indian man has had to sacrifice in the pursuit of economic betterment. Ferlinghetti is making a political point about the inequality of American society despite it being a democratic society. The point is 'Democracy does not equal equality'


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