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How Is Contrast Used In 'Two Scavengers In A Truck, Two Beautiful People In A Mercedes', Compared To The Use Of Contrast In 'Nothing'S Changed'?

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Essay Preview: How Is Contrast Used In 'Two Scavengers In A Truck, Two Beautiful People In A Mercedes', Compared To The Use Of Contrast In 'Nothing'S Changed'?

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The two poems I am comparing are 'Two Scavengers in a truck, Two Beautiful people in a Mercedes', written by Lawrence Ferlinghetti, which shows the contrast between rich and poor in San Francisco, and 'Nothings Changed', written by Tatamkhulu Afrika. 'Nothing's Changed' is an autobiographical poem about a man returning to the town he grew up in as an adult, and how everything is still the same.

The tone of 'Two Scavengers' changes between sombre, when the poet is describing the two garbage men, and a more relaxed, happy tone when he is talking about the 'Beautifuls'. I think that he has done this to increase the effect of the sympathy that he feels for the two garbage men, because as they are looking at the two people in the Mercedes, they know that they are observing a world that they know they can never be a part of. This is illustrated by when the poem says "as if they were watching some odourless TV ad". The 'Beautifuls' seem to be happy in their own world, and seem oblivious to what is going on around them, even though it is right next to them. The overall tone of the poem, I think, is quite negative.

The tone of 'Nothing's Changed' is also negative, and in parts very angry. You can tell quite clearly that the poet feels very strongly about the subject of racism that he is writing about. His anger is greatly illustrated when the poem says "the hot, white, inward-turning anger of my eyes". This shows just how angry he is, because you can imagine, because this is a metaphor, the image. Because the poem is autobiographical, to me it seems to make the subject more realistic.

In comparison, the tone of the two poems is fairly similar-they both are written in a sombre way, and both seem fairly negative. However, I think the tone of 'Nothing's Changed' is more striking because it seems angrier, whereas 'Two Scavengers' is more of an observation of something that is happening rather then being autobiographical and so emotionally involved like 'Nothings Changed' is.

'Two Scavengers' is set in downtown San Francisco. It is about two garbage men in a truck pulling up alongside two rich people in a Mercedes at some traffic lights. The poem contrasts between the two, because there are stark differences. The two garbage men are grubby, grungy and tired from their route. The rich couple are relaxed and seem as if they don't have a care in the world. I think the poet has written the poem because he disagrees with the gap between them. The poem shows how the two couples are linked in society, yet so distanced because of their social status.

'Nothing's Changed' is an account of a man returning to Cape Town's District Six, where he grew up. Apartheid was happening then, and the poem is all about how nothing has changed. It is about racism, and how 'whites', 'blacks', and 'coloureds' were separated in the city. It mentions how "no board says it is (only one race)", but everyone knows that only certain people are allowed in. This shows that even though the divide is very obvious, it is almost unseen which brings a kind of irony to the poem. I think the poet has written the poem to tell people what that situation is like from his point of view having had experienced it first hand. The relevance of the title is that nothing has changed in the years since he lived there as a child. During apartheid the whites had their own places to dine, shop, relax etc. Even though apartheid ended the white people still dissociated themselves from the black people. Even though there is a democracy now, everything is still the same.

In comparison, although the poems in general are written about different experiences and things that have happened, if you look at their deeper meaning they are very similar; both about the contrast of people just because of something about their appearance. In 'Two Scavengers', the divide seems a lot more visual because there is a very clear visible divide between the two vehicles. On the other hand, in 'Nothing's Changed' the divide seems less visual; even though it is very obvious; it is almost an unseen divide. This is illustrated when it says "I press my nose to the clear panes", because you cannot see the divide (the glass window) but you still know it is there.

The imagery used in 'Two Scavengers' is quite vivid. One of the garbage men is described as a "gargoyle Quasimodo", which gives you the image that he is old, deformed and ugly. He also has "grey iron hair", a metaphor which makes u imagine his hair is dark grey and lifeless. The 'Beautifuls' seem to be perfect; the man is wearing a "hip three piece linen suit" which seems much more luxurious than the "red plastic blazers" the garbage men are wearing. The woman is described as "casually coifed, in a short skirt, and coloured stockings" and, this, again, mentions luxurious items that poorer people would probably not be able to afford. "Casually coifed" is also alliteration, which makes is stand out more, and emphasises the luxury. There is also a sense of irony in the poem, because the driver of the Mercedes has long blond hair and sunglasses, yet so does one of the garbage men. This is ironic because the two look fairly similar, but their lives are completely contrasting. "In the high seas of this democracy" represents how everything is always changing, just like a stormy sea.

The poem is written



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