Essay by west_x_5Junior High, 9th gradeB, July 2006

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Abdul Rahman Shiil

The narrator of this poem, who is of mixed race, describes the gifts of clothes and jewellery sent to her in England by her Pakistani relatives. She is drawn to the loveliness of these things, but feels awkward wearing them. She feels more comfortable in English clothes - denim and corduroy. She contrasts the beautiful clothes and jewellery of India with boring English 'cardigans/from Marks and Spencer'. She tries to remember what it was like for her family to travel to England. Her facts of her birthplace, which she left as a baby, come to her only through old photographs and newspaper reports. She tries to imagine what that world might be like

This poem is about someone "of no fixed nationality", who lives in two worlds. Poet shows the unusual presents with what she saw in her school, and with the things her aunts wanted in return.

Poet admired presents, but felt they were too exquisite for her.

The girl in the poem doesn't think much of the salwar kameez because it's old-fashioned. It says 'like at school, fashions changed'. She prefers denim and corduroy ('I longed for denim and corduroy'), so she can be more like her school friend, especially at weekends. When she first came to England she didn't want to, it says she was 'screaming all the way' (line 50) but now she quite likes it.

The girl in the poem doesn't quite know what to think about the presents. The way she describes them makes them sound beautiful. Peacock-blue and glistening like an orange split open but when she puts them on she doesn't feel right. I could never be as lovely as those clothes she admires the way the clothes have little mirrors embroidered on them I admired the...