Postcard From Kashmir And Island Man Analysis

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The following poems, Postcard from Kashmir and Island Man, written by poets Agha Shahid Ali and Grace Nichols respectively, is a work of art written solely about identity and the idea of belonging. Post-colonial poetry forms part of a body of literature written by colonized and formerly colonized peoples. With this in mind, it can be said that both poems coincide with the identity of post-colonial poems. Shahid Ali himself is a patriotic poet – he was forced to leave his homeland due to chaos and war, and thus wrote the poem Postcard from Kashmir to express his deep love for his country, despite what has happened there. Similarly, Nichols explores the anguish associated with cultural identity – feeling separated from home and not being able…show more content…
Both poems tend to lean towards a prominent theme of cultural identity – whilst Postcard from Kashmir explores the crisis of the national identity, Island Man deals with cultural identity of an individual. The author of the poem, Postcard from Kashmir, is himself an exiled Kashmiri and displays his three torments in his poem – the regret of leaving his home; dealing with the pain of being an outsider in an American diversified society; and the struggle of coming to terms with the changes that would have inevitably occurred in his absence in Kashmir. This inward battle is evident as he looks at the postcard from Kashmir. He is harshly awakened to the reality of being away from home and heritage in a mere “four by six inches” (l.2). Shahid Ali’s poem is essentially one of loss and longing – his love for his home “so overexposed” (l.10) is presented in a postcard. Similarly, the poem, Island Man, also expresses this idea of belonging. The major theme of cultural identity is evident when the author describes the island and London – emphasizing her description of the beauty of the island to show that she would never forget her identity. The phrases of “comes back to sand” (l.12) and “dull North circular roar” (l.15) describes both settings in which the poem is set, and serves to show both cultures in which the man lives. Another prominent theme seen in both poems is how colonialism has exploited nature. In Postcard from Kashmir, one notices the reference made to the “colours” (l.7) not being so “brilliant” (l.7), “the Jhelum’s waters so clean” (l.8). Correspondingly in Island Man, the author speaks of “sands of grey metallic soar” (l.12-13), which makes reference to how colonialism brought about industrialism in
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