Comparing and contrasting 'We are the Cherokee' and 'First they said'

Essay by xjonixHigh School, 11th gradeA, November 2007

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In this essay I will be comparing and contrasting the two poems about racial attitudes people have towards indigenous tribes; and analysing the poet’s choice of poetic techniques.

First of all I’m going to be talking about the poem ‘We are the Cherokee’ by Benjamin Zephaniah. The poem’s title gives you a very big insight into what the poem will be about, ‘We are the Cherokee’ put you down the train of thought that the poem will be talking about the Native American Indian tribe the Cherokee. This poem is a very powerful poem that talks about the white man invading America. Of course we are reading the information from the Native Americans point of view so the information cannot be trusted completely.

However, in this day and age we can see both sides of the story by living in U.K. society. Ben Zephaniah plays a big part in peace making between black and Asian, and white communities in the U.K.

He even refused a knighthood from the queen her self because of England’s colonial past and the current situation.

Benjamin Zephaniah’s full name is Benjamin Obadiah Ipbal Zephaniah which is Christian Jewish and Muslim he obviously then is a man caught between a few cultures. He obviously is a very educate man as he had finished full time education by the age of thirteen. At the age of twenty two Benjamin published his first book Pen Rhythm, in an act to try to reach more people, his mission was to take poetry every where. His poems most of the time tries to have an aspect of humour but will always have serious message e.e. racism, animal rights, pollution and males and females being treated equally, and war. Benjamin has travelled around the world many times. He is...