Comparing I Coming Back & Where The Rainbow Ends Essay Sample

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In this essay I will be comparing two poems. One poem by Grace Nichols, the other by Richard Rive. They are both trying to portray a similar message but in very different ways. I will compare the mood, voice, dialect, theme, line length, repetition, imagery and the message of both poems. I will also look at the similarities and differences n both poems.

‘I Coming Back’ by Grace Nichols is a dead black slave speaking from the underworld. She is haunting and threatening her Master making sure she gets revenge and he knows it.

‘Where The Rainbow Ends’ by Richard Rive is a song to unite all races. It’s the sad reality of segregation in the world and how it can be removed.

The mood in both poems is totally different. The mood in ‘Where The Rainbow Ends’ is friendly and happy. This is shown when the poem reads

“But we can learn, brother, you and I.”

This is politely spoken, in Standard English and is well mannered. This is very cheery and sends a positive felling in the readers mind.

The mood in ‘I Coming Back,’ however, is very threatening, dark and scary. The speaker is suggesting some consequences of her owner’s previous actions by saying

“Bone in yuh throat

laugh in yuh skull

I coming back”

This, in contrast to the first poem, is very negative and has a mood which is very definable from the start.

In the two poems both speakers are black. They are both probably talking to white people too. In ‘I Coming Back’ the speaker is a black female slave talking to her probably white ex-master. The speaker says

“I coming back Massa

mistress of the underworld

I coming back.”

This shows the speaker is a female because she says mistress which means lady. She is speaking ex-master because Massa is a Guyanese word for master.

In ‘Where The Rainbow Ends’ it’s a black person speaking to a white person. The speaker says

“You and I, though you’re white and I’m not.”

This tells us the speaker is saying he is not white himself but the person he is speaking to is.

Both poems use contrasting dialect. ‘Where The Rainbow Ends’ is written in Standard English and is written politely.

“It’s going to be a sad song, brother,

Because we don’t know the tune

And it’s a difficult tune to learn.”

It’s written in Standard English so that everyone can understand it. The whole point of the poem is to make inter-cultural friendships, so if everyone can understand this poem; making friendships between cultures will be easier to do.

‘I Coming Back’ is written in a Guyanese dialect. Saying

“hiss in yuh ear

prick in yuh skin

I coming back,” proves this.

There is different spelling and grammar. This is used for a reason. By speaking the language she was bought up speaking she is showing pride and respect to the country she originated from. She was tired of doing as she was told and now speaks the way in which she wants to.

‘Where The Rainbow Ends’ is about unity of all races and equality. The speaker would like everyone to be one and sing together regardless of their race.

“We’re going to sing together, brother, you and I”

This shows the speaker wants everyone in the world to sing the same song. This is not a literal meaning but means the speaker would like everyone and everything in the world to be the same.

The poem ‘I Coming Back’ is about contact from the underworld and ‘coming back’ with a vengeance. Saying one thing over and over again makes an impact in the reader’s mind. The speaker is saying one thing but in many different ways to sink the thought into her ex-masters head.

“mistress of the underworld

I Coming Back”

This is a scary thought and would stick in the reader’s mind if they knew it was about them.

The lines in ‘Where The Rainbow Ends’ are much longer than the lines in ‘I Coming Back.’ The longer lines in ‘Where The Rainbow Ends’ are more descriptive and informative. An example of the line length is

“It’s going to be a sad song, brother,

Because we don’t know the tune

And it’s a difficult tune to learn.”

They create a detailed picture which is essential as it supports the theme of the poem.

The lines in ‘I Coming Back’ are much shorter.

“dog howling outside yuh window,

I coming back.”

The lines are small and babbling. They are very direct and sound almost tribal. The short lines are used to get to the point. Using shorter lines means that fewer details are explained.

Each of the poems has some repetition. They’re both used in different ways and have different effects. The repetition in ‘Where The Rainbow Ends’ is not in every line but is very effective for the reading audience to understand the speaker is trying to be friendly. The word ‘brother’ is repeated, which is a good way to greet someone if you are trying to unite with them.

The repetition in ‘I Coming Back’ appears more often and is also in a Guyanese dialect. The words repeated is the name of the poem; the words ‘I Coming Back.’ This is effective because it sounds psychopathic so the reader knows revenge will be dealt.

The imagery in the poems is unlike. There is good imagery in ‘Where The Rainbow Ends.’ Like when it says

“Where the world can sing all sorts of songs.”

There are no bad thoughts and there is only positive thinking.

The imagery in ‘I Coming Back’ is much scarier and it puts thoughts into the reader’s minds even though they might not be clear.

“bone in yuh throat

laugh in yuh skull

I coming back.”

This is quite a scary thought and will make a scary picture for those who it is addressed to.

The poem ‘Where The Rainbow Ends’ is written later than ‘I Coming Back. We can tell this because the poem by Richard Rive is written in a more complex way and also he is speaking freely. A long time ago black people weren’t allowed to speak freely.

The message in ‘Where The Rainbow Ends’ is actually a wish, a hope, a dream. Richard Rive is saying there is a place where people of all races are equal, but it’s where the rainbow ends. A rainbow is circular and actually never ends. So there is no place where people of all colours are united.

“Where the rainbow ends,

There’s going to be a place, brother,

Where the world can sing all sorts of songs.”

This is a plea for unity but is unlikely to happen.

The message of ‘I Coming Back’ is similar but is said in a much more intimidating way.

“colour and race of all that is evil.”

This quote shows the narrator thought all colours should be equal and that racism is evil. It is put in a terrorising way.

Both poems carry a similar message and have many similarities. They are 2 totally different poems in the way they are written. Both demanding the same thing; equality.

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