Thank you for your support. The verses use many of the signposts of oral poetry tradition, reflecting the Afro-Caribbean situation. Dick Whittington’s Cat is a reference to an English folklore story, suggesting that the narrator has been colonized by English culture. and what this accomplishes. Further blogs featuring poems on the Power and Conflict module can be explored in ‘The Emigrée or ‘The Charge of the Light Brigade’. Agard has used elements from his own Caribbean culture throughout the piece. In many countries it was illegal to teach slaves to read and write. He chooses to discuss issues of cultural identity, issues of race and power in his poetry. Checking Out Me History by John Agard. John Agard. From the perspective of a culturally oppressed individual, this verse is inspirational and very saddening. Listen Mr. Oxford Don by John Agard. Mary Seacole’s defiance of the British is referred to as a heroic action: ‘even when de British said no’. This also manifests itself in voice. Here it is more important to know that “ole King Cole was a merry ole soul” than it is to learn about one of the most prominent helpers in the Crimean War, who was more often than not overshadowed by Nightingale. Thank you! Please support this website by adding us to your whitelist in your ad blocker. The annotation prompts are a supportive tool, intended to encourage further poetry analysis and interpretation. Agard references both the blindness he felt at knowing nothing of his own culture: ‘Bandage up me eye’ and ‘Blind me to me own identity’ and the light and vision he ascribes to learning about people from the Caribbean. Dem tell me Dem tell me Wha dem want to tell me. In some ways, this is why poetry can be such a subjective art form — without any voice, Dick Whittington’s Cat is a reference to an English, . The title of the poem reflects the subject matter. Ads are what helps us bring you premium content! The line concerning that merry soul is such a lighthearted bit that it almost feels out of place. Resources included: an editable PowerPoint presentation on John Agard’s ‘Checking Out Me History’; a poetry planning table; 20 poetry analysis questions; and a booklet containing the poetry questions, with space to respond. If you need further help don’t hesitate to message us back. Florence Nightingale was a highly reputable and devoted nurse during the Crimean War, known for making rounds in the middle of the night (with her lamp) to care for wounded soldiers. The Battle of Waterloo, where Napoleon was defeated and forced to abdicate his position as French Emperor is also mentioned. One of the most common things that can be heard about communication through text is how difficult it is to relay sarcasm through it. One of the things that could be said to be lacking for the written word is the difficulty in relaying inflection. Checking Out Me History (2004) John Agard. Bandage up me eye with me own history Blind me to my own identity. Not a single full stop or comma in the poem. The theme of memory can also be explored in ‘Poppies’ and the theme of the power of nature can be found in ‘Ozymandias’ and ‘Storm on the Island’. Unlike Nanny of the Maroons or Toussaint L’Ouverture, Shaka is a historic figure who revolutionized African communities alone, and is not a figure one would expect to learn about in an English school regardless (except perhaps in instruction concerning warfare, as Shaka’s greatest achievements were in his revolutionary fighting tactics). Both women came to great repute during the war among soldiers, who were grateful for their commitment — but the speaker is only learning about Nightingale, amidst nonsensical stories of Robin Hood and “ole King Cole.”. Checking Out Me History is a poem of two sides. Agard talks of ‘dem’ and ‘me’, clearly separating himself from those who taught history at school. Checking Out Me History is a modern poem by the Guyanese poet, John Agard. The poem focuses on the holes in the British colonial education system—particularly that system's omission of important figures from African, Caribbean, and indigenous history. But what happen to de Caribs and de Arawaks too. I think that is what the author of this piece is trying to infer, albeit in a less concise way than you just did! He uses the physical separation of the stanzas and the font styles to indicate which culture he is referencing. He is determined to learn about and embrace his own history. The language and structure of this verse is all that is required to indicate that the narrator believes it is far more important to learn about figures with vision and heart who fight for what they believe in, than to learn about folklore tales. To freedom river. Keep popping by we have done loads of similar poems and will likely do more in the near future. Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window), Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window), Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window), Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window), Biology Paper 2 Unit 5 Revision: Homeostasis & Response Key Concepts, Revise Exposure by Wilfred Owen: Power and Conflict Poems, Checking Out Me History is written by Guyanese poet, John Agard, Agard was born in Guyana (then British Guiana) in 1949, John Agard received the Queen’s Medal for Poetry in 2012 and his poetry frequently appears on the GCSE curriculum, Agard writes about cultural identity, issues of race and power, Checking Out Me History is written in Creole, Checking Out Me History is a poem of two sides, Agard’s Checking Out Me History poem uses stanzas and font styles to portray different things, Sections written in regular font refer mostly to British Colonial education, The poem rejects European syntax and English pronunciation, The poem borrows oral poetry markers, including repetition and chorus use, as well as strong rhythms and a chanting, lilting style, ‘Dem’ and ‘me’, clearly separates Agard from those who taught history at school, ‘Bandage up me eye’ and ‘blind me to me own identity’ explores the poet’s blindness at knowing nothing of his own culture, He refers to Toussaint de beacon and Mary Seacole as the ‘healing star’ and ‘yellow sunrise’, all images of light and warmth and healing, Agard feels he is ‘carving out’ his identity through learning about his own history. Please log in again. The speaker knows Toussaint as a beacon for hope, a light in the darkness. Annotation prompts for John Agard’s ‘Checking Out Me History’. Use of metaphor is reserved for the figures from black history rather than those from British culture. John Agard was born 1949 in British Guyana, now called Guyana, in the Caribbean. Dem tell me bout 1066 and all dat dem tell me bout Dick Whittington and he cat But Touissant L’Ouverture The narrator attended an English school and was taught about powerful, heroic figures in English history, but never, they note, about figures such as Toussaint L’Ouverture, a well-known leader of the Haitian Revolution that fought against and defeated racist colonial forces. Subscribe to Beyond from as little as £5 per month, giving you access to a range of resources. For the most part, readers of any kind tend to hear the words they read in their own voices. She was a “hopeful stream” that led to a “river” of freedom, a fiery force with a mountain dream. A bargain and a time-saver all in one! Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site. Agard was born in Guyana (then British Guiana) in 1949 and spent his childhood in the South American country. He points out, for instance, that Toussaint was able to defeat (“lick back”) Napoleon in battle, a strong contradiction to the highly respected image of Napoleon that would have been especially prominent in a colonial schooling environment.

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