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'?

Topics: Poetry, White people, Black people Pages: 4 (1533 words) Published: December 10, 2005
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...
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