Difficulties of Moving from One Culture to Another. Using Presents Form My Aunts in Pakistan, and Search for My Tongue. Essay
Search for My Tongue is about the conflict between the poet’s first language, Gujarati and the foreign language she now uses, English. The poet is worried that she will lose her first language but she remembers it in her dreams and the language comes out as extended metaphor.
Presents from my Aunts in Pakistan is about a girl who has grown up in England, who talks about the presents from her aunts in Pakistan. She loves the gifts but is uncomfortable using or wearing them.
She is unsure of her identity.
In Search for my Tongue, the poem starts with a challenging tone, “You ask me what I mean,” sounds like she is answering a question. “Lost my tongue” could mean that she has lost her language, now she has moved to another country. The word tongue has a double meaning the organ in your mouth and a language. The poet uses ‘I’ and ‘You’ a lot, like in a conversation.
And this gets the reader involved in the poem. Which then goes on and tells us about how hard it is to know two languages, and that she thinks that she has lost her first language (Gujarati) and doesn’t really know the second language (English). She also tells us of the conflict of the two languages and how she can’t use them both at the same time even if she wanted to.
The poet uses a series of disturbing images and monosyllables to tell us about how her mother tongue has died. But when she dreams she remembers the language. Once again in the third section she uses metaphor to tell us how the language returns to her (how it grows back) and that every time she has forgotten the language, “it blossoms out of my mouth”.
In Presents from my Aunts in Pakistan on the first line the words “salwar kameez”, stand out from the English words, just as the presents do from the English clothes she normally wears. In the poem we see a vast use of colour, “peacock-blue”, “orange”, “gold and black” and “apple-green”. The bright colours of the Pakistani clothes contrasted with the clothes she is used to seen in.