Comparison Of Johannesburg And City Johannesburg By William Plomer's Johannesburg

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We are given two poems “Johannesburg” and “City Johannesburg”, at first glance, one wonders if there is really any difference between the poems. After all, both have the word “Johannesburg” in the title. On closer inspection, we find that there is indeed quite a few differences but also similarities as well. The poets have made use of imagery effectively throughout the poem, one crucial image that arises from both poems is that of racism. There is other imagery used further emphasising the issues that arose during the Apartheid Era. William Plomer’s poem “Johannesburg” is of the lives of men who worked and ‘lived’ in Johannesburg during the gold rush in “eighty-five”. It is from the rich man’s perspective. They have all the “fortunes” which was “founded overnight”, thus leading to urbanisation and so “mansions rose among the rocks.” This urbanisation lead to the men which were migrant workers having “girls” while working. These men cheated on their wives and these women were referred to as “girls” and so were around in the cities and mingled and had sexual relations with these men. Money was so abundant to these men that “champagne baths” that “sluiced their skins”. Showing their wealth that they have acquired, so much so that it creates an image of being drowned in alcohol. Another image used is of the men surfacing from the bottom of the mines covered in dirt looking “grimy” but on their filth covered bodies there is “auriferous dust present”. This dust is that of gold,

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