African Beggar Essay

680 Words3 Pages
Raymond Tong expresses his disgust and sympathy for a poor beggar in his short poem, “African Beggar”. In this essay I will analyse some key areas of this emotive piece of literature and evaluate the feelings expressed in this poem. This poem is about an old African man who is alienated in a foreign community. He has no home or money to sustain a reasonable life. We are told he is clearly diseased and nothing is said about a family which indicates he is alone. We are also given the writers emotions of disgust and sympathy and I will evaluate these. In the first stanza we are told that the beggar is: “Sprawled in the dust outside a Syrian store.” The word, “Sprawled” stands out to me as being a very hood indicator of the idea that he is occupying as much space as possible so that he may be noticed, and people might present him with their unneeded change. “Sprawled” begins with the letter “S” and the sound of that letter is repeated in the first line five times. Strictly speaking it is not alliteration but we are given a similar effect and it allows our ears to be hooked on the first line and encourage us to continue into the poem. Also in the first stanza the writer tells us that the beggar is: “”a heap of verminous rags and matted hair” The word, “verminous” shares the idea that (like a rat or other vermin) no one dare touch him. This may sound obscure, but, if you were to observe a close friend sitting on the ground alone in distress you would probably immediately help them up and hug them. The beggar on the other hand would be left to help himself and no one will help him up. This phrase also gives us the impression that he is diseased in many ways. As verminous animals are usually considered to bear disease and the same is probably automatically assumed about the poor old man. In the second stanza the phrase: “Grotesque mask of death” Really struck me
Open Document