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”Old Father” by Hugh Boatswain and ”Island Man” by Grace Nichols Essay Sample

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”Old Father” by Hugh Boatswain and ”Island Man” by Grace Nichols Essay Sample

Two different Caribbean writers write these two poems. They both were in England while writing the poems. Both of the poems describe brief comparison and contrast between England and Caribbean culture.

“Old Father” and “Island man” is about the passion of their heart. They both missing their country so badly and they are desperate to go back to their motherland.

They listed their nature, atmosphere, people, seaside, birds, cricket matches and so on.

Everything they mentioned is keep reminding them about their country.

They can see their country on their dream. They can feel that they are missing their country atmosphere, environment, and people.

Although “Old Father” is more descriptive than “Island man” two poets have explained successfully their wishes, reasons behind missing their country.


Old Father: The poem is written more descriptive and manifestly than “Island Man”. The poem is about the poet’s real life story. He describes his passion, his feelings more splendidly as he could .He tries to bring different subjects to give a life to the poem. In the whole poem he mentioned the atmosphere in England for him and compared it to his own country. He has spent a lot of time in England but now he is dissatisfied and desperate to back to his motherland.

In a short period of his life he tried to act like an English man. He tried to get habituated with the adjacent atmosphere and people. According to the poem some of his pretentious trying to be an English man is given bellow-

* “Never brunette” He doesn’t expect a woman with dark skin, hair and eyes.

* “And his suit, cream or beige” He wears suit like an English man wear.

* He use to make joke about black people and even he doesn’t like black people to serve his ordered foods in the pub.

* He doesn’t eat Caribbean food.

“Island man” is quite simple than “Old father”. The poem was written about a Caribbean Island man .The poet tried to explain his feelings compared with her. The subject of the poem is clear and not in euphemism way as “Old Father”.

The Caribbean island man can still hear the sound of his country sea and he can see the birds on the sky far away from his country. That makes him wake up from bed. And the man didn’t try to be an English man as Old father did.Garce Nichols didn’t compared her country to England .


Although he tried to do everything like a white people, (British people) the white people are still saying, “He ‘s an example to his people”. Old father is now disappointed and hoping to go back to his own country.

Basically the poem is full of euphemism .He hasn’t meant what old father said. He has explained what he is missing here.

Island man: Grace Nichols writes this poem for a Caribbean island man in London who still wakes up to the sound of the sea. The poem is linked with their point of view for their country. She tries to define her country feelings based on a seaside scenery .The sea is also in his country .The poem is not as expressive as “Old Father “. The Island man is a character in this poem. And Grace Nichols narrates her passion through the Island man.

Island man wakes up from bed to the sound of blue surf. She doesn’t mean that Island man is now in England. He is in London but he still can hear the sound from his heart; from his memories. Island man still can see the birds, fisherman and the Caribbean sun while closing his eyes. As she said,” his crumpled pillow waves” that means Island man was sleeping or woke up from sleep. And the whole poem was a dream about his country; about his wish to see his country.


Old Father: The language used in this poem isn’t proper English. It might be Caribbean style. There are some spellings, which are written how they pronounce it.


“de nex”

“man,a tekkin”

Few grammatical errors for third person singular number are seen in the poem . Probably it’s Caribbean style I suppose.


1.”Old father feet begin to shift”

2.”He don’t say “Hello” no more”

3.”Old father don’t want to know we know”

The poem is expressive and every line represents powerful feelings of heart.

Island man: The language used in Island man is regular English. There isn’t any different kind of spelling or grammatical rules have seen in the poem. The expression isn’t direct as “Old Father”. It’s brief but directly and clearly said.

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