Class: Presents from my aunts in Pakistan – Moniza Alvi

Image source: Marina Marcolin 

Glossary: Keep adding new words into your glossary.

Revise and practise process of poem reading and annotation:

  • Read poem for basic understanding
  • Take notice of punctuation/run-on lines, etc.
  • Think about what you know
  • Think about what you don’t know
  • Read poem again to test your theory/interpretation
  • Read poem again to check again for coherence and consistency

If there is a run-on line you have to keep reading; don’t stop. The line goes over to the next line and you must read it that way for full meaning.

Punctuation is a sign post.

In class today students read the poem collaboratively going around the room with each student taking a phrase between punctuation. The reading kept the flow going.

Read the poem for basic understanding and then read more closely to understand what the poet talks about and what this means, what it might symbolise.

This kind of reading is like a camera panning out to reveal the bigger picture after capturing the details.

Look at clues in the poem and think about what these things symbolise in order to get to the big themes.

The relationship between the speaker and her presents is complex, and slightly different in each stanza.  Each time she reveals a different aspect of her life. She doesn’t simply love or hate these things – it’s complicated.

Analyse what these things make her feel, how they make her fell about her culture.

You are aiming at a nuanced analysis. Nuance = different shades of meaning. A nuanced analysis means you can explain subtle differences in meaning/sound.

Go in there with your magnifying glass and look at eg. Why does she feel like this? Use the text/her words to analyse this.

For example, the juxtaposition of silk and corduroy –

Silk: Eastern tradition, soft, representing her old culture.   Corduroy: Western tradition, rough, her new adopted culture.

The traditional culture clothes she’s wearing means she doesn’t belong in her present environment.

How does she feel?  “The costume clung to me…”

There are many contradictions – she is attracted to the silks/jewellery and they are beautiful but there’s the other side: how she feels in these things in her present environment.

Homework: Using the notes from our special artifact/possession activity, write a poem in which this object features. The poem will be related to the ideas of your culture or your identity.

Due Monday. Length: at least 10 lines.



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