My Aunts In Pakistan Poem

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A poem based on the poet’s experiences wherein the persona - a multiracial teenager - struggles to reconnect with her birthplace, is ‘Presents from my Aunts in Pakistan’ by Moniza Alvi. The persona’s unresolved conflict of her identity, being Pakistani and British, arises when she is given cultural gifts from her aunts in Pakistan whilst living an English lifestyle. Thus, this inner conflict evokes a sense of confusion within the persona, causing her to feel disconnected from both cultures. This essay focuses on the structure and meaning of the poem, understanding the context, and how the persona’s confused perception is conveyed - firstly, through the spiral form of the poem, and by Alvi’s uses of poetic techniques such as: colour imagery, irony, metaphors, effective word choice, and key phrases. To begin with, Alvi narrates the persona’s initial thoughts on the ‘salwar kameez’ with the…show more content…
Common to teenagers, the persona feels insecure about her body image and that she does not meet the ideal standards/the beauty values of the society in which she lives in - between English and Pakistani culture. She is not used to, and has not become adjusted to the bright colours of the sari: “I could never be as lovely // as those clothes - // I longed for denim and corduroy.” The poet uses irony to show that although the speaker is captivated by this beauty, she does not feel acceptance, and feels that she is not good enough to wear them. Her longing desire of rather having the denim corduroy represents that she is not ready to re-establish the cultural ties with her past. Therefore, Alvi has made it ironic that the speaker wants to wear the dress, but at the same time does not; as she is trying to figure out her ambivalent feelings towards the traditional sari, there is still a sense of uncertainty in how she feels about her
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