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Flashcards in Half-Caste Deck (25):

Complete the gaps:

"I ____-_____ human being
cast ____-a-______"

"I half-caste human being
cast half-a-shadow"


What could you say about this quote?

"England weather
Nearly always half-caste"

The word weather is a metaphor for people - he's saying that he's not the minority, which is what people think and why they prejudice against him


When was the poem written?



Who wrote the poem?

John Agard


Give one fact about John Agard.

He moved to Britain in 1977


What language feature is immediately noticeable?



What can you say about the use of dialect?

The dialect emphasises his mixed culture and strengthens his message, so lays on the guilt for the audience


What is one structure feature you could pick out and what would you say about it?

Line length: the lines are almost half of what would be expected for a regular line in poetry so adds to the repetition of everything be halved


What's noticeable about the grammar?

There are very few capital letters so it could symbolise either that John Agard feels like a lower case letter compared to an upper case letter (i.e. minority) or how he wants everything to be equal


Give some context of the poem.

John Agard is Afro-Guyanese and has experienced racism first-hand for the majority of his life. The poem addresses the term half-caste, which was first used in the 1800s, but is now considered racist because it relates to slavery


What can you say about this quote?

"an I will tell yu
de other half
of my story"

Agard is implying that though he may be of mixed race, that does not define him as a person; there is a lot more to his story


Give some examples of the metaphors that John Agard uses in the second stanza.

"mix a black key / wid a white key / is half-caste symphony/"

"yu mean when light an shadow / mix in de sky / is a half-caste weather"

"...when picasso / mix red an green / is a half-caste canvas"


What could you say about the repetition of the line "wha yu mean"

The line is repeated to create a forceful manner, which then emphasises Agard's upset: by repeating himself over and over again he seems to be forcing a reader to reply


What do the slashes at the end of the lines symbolise?

They show that Agard hasn't got time for a real pause, he needs to get his point across quick - makes him seem more forceful

Links to context - he wants to get his point across quick to show desperation since the term has been used for about 200 years + and he's tired of its use and the racist links

They separate the poem up which is reflective of how Agard feels like he has been separated from society


What could you say about Agard's second metaphor about the weather?

It seems to be a lot longer and angrier. The word spiteful to describe the clouds symbolises how racists are spiteful towards their victims

The line "ah rass" at the end is a Creole term that translates to "my ass" - it shows Agard's anger because this is typically a term used when someone is dismissing another one's argument


What could you say about the first stanza?

It seems to be almost like an alert, as if Agard is warning the person about to read that he is of mixed race


What is the tone created in the whole poem?

It seems quite sarcastic


Give one way in which Agard makes the reader feel guilty.

Agard (the narrator) presents himself to be very educated which contrasts the stereotype that black people are usually dumb so this makes them reflect on what they initially think


What could be the message behind the fact that Agard wants the poem read aloud?

He wants his message to be heard after so many years of being dismissed as a minority
He isn't afraid of his origins, he embraces where he's from


What could you say about Agard's third metaphor about a piano?

He says about the white keys which are actually more prolific on a piano usually which is a metaphor for him (a black key) being a minority within society


What is there a motif of throughout the poem and what is its effect?

Contrasted images which makes the reader feel guilty because it puts an image in their mind of impurity


Complete the gaps:

"______ me
________ on one ___"

"Excuse me
standing on one leg"


Complete the gaps:

"yu ____ come back _________
wid de _____ of yu ___
and de whole of yu ___
and de _____ of yu ____"

"yu must come back tomorrow
wid de whole of yu eye
and de whole of yu ear
and de whole of yu mind"


Complete the gaps:

"I'm ____ you'll __________"

"I'm sure you'll understand"


What themes (of questions) would be suitable for this poem?

Different views