The United Kingdom

Explore the ways in which Grace Nichols reveals the feelings of the Caribbean emigrants in the poems ‘Island Man’ and ‘Hurricane Hits England’ The poems ‘Island Man’ and ‘Hurricane hits England’ are two poems written by Grace Nichols. She was born in Guyana and then she moved to England in 1977. She was present when a Hurricane occurred in southern England in October 1987. This event inspired her to write her poem ‘Hurricane hits England’ which is a poem about a character that was present in a hurricane and starts evaluating everything about who she is and what she feels.

The other poem, ‘Island Man’ is about a man that has moved from the Caribbean to the United Kingdom, but his heart stayed with his country and it is reflected in his dreams. He can’t accept his reality, he’s now in England. England is the scene of both poems. This is one of the similarities, just like the feeling of comfort or reassurance. The author describes in the poem ‘Island Man’ how the man feels very safe and comfortable in the Caribbean. This can be seen through the poet’s use of diction by using the word ‘wombing’ to describe the sound of the surf in his head.

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The poet has made up this word because the associations we have of a womb are of a safe, protected place. This feeling is at the same way present in the poem ‘Hurricane Hits England’ in the way that when being part of an event that is constantly happening in her Caribbean makes her feel comforted when remembering her land. The author shows this applying a contradiction when saying ‘fearful and reassuring’. It means destructive but emotionally comforting. In the same way Grace Nichols presents comfort, affection is presented. Even though it is applied in different sides, as one reflects affection for England and the other for Guyana.

The use of metaphors shows the importance of these places in her life. In the poem ‘Island Man’, Nichols shows this when she says: ‘of his small emerald island’. By using the word ‘his’ she emphasises that the small emerald island belongs to him in the sense that it is part of him, of his life, of his past. Also Nichols shows this feeling for England. This can be seen when written: ‘comes to break down the frozen lake in me’. It means that the use of metaphor describes that she is feeling warmer towards England and she can be more connected. What was ‘frozen’ inside her will change making her being part of England.

Just as comfort or affection, happiness is a good feeling; it shows hope, love and others. Even though in both poems happiness isn’t constant, it is a feeling that plays an important role. In the poem ‘Hurricane Hits England’ the writer presents this when saying ‘come to let me know that the earth is the earth is the earth’. By this repetition, the author express happiness as she has finally found the answers to all the questions she had and at the same time it represents that she now feels complete and part of something as she isn’t confused anymore.