Poetry is a form of art and it can rhyme or be used to express one’s feelings. The two poems I will be focusing on are ‘Strange fruit’ and ‘Not my business’. ‘Strange Fruit’ was written in 1930 by a poet called Lewis Allen. The poet of ‘Strange Fruit was a Jewish teacher who was from New York. In contrast the poet of ‘Not my business’ however was by a man called Niyi Osundare who was a Nigerian man but on the other hand his mother tongue was English.
Both these poems have a purpose behind them and their purpose is to give equal rights to everyone because of al the racism, sexism, homosexuals etc… The poets want to inform the world of what is happening around us that we do not realise about! In this essay I will compare how ‘Strange Fruit’ and ‘Not my business’ portray violent acts. “Strange fruit” and “Not my business” are both similar in the way that they both talk about suffering which people receive in both different parts of the world.
The purpose of “strange fruit” is to show the audience what is happening to Black people in Southern states of America. This tragic event was taking place because of all the groups forming in America who were racist. ‘The KKK’ stands for ‘The Ku Klux Klan’. They were a group of people who were found in 1866; who believed in white supremacy. This group became extremely popular in the 1920, because of groups like that they also influenced the society and that is why Black people were segregated for their color.
Lewis Allen wanted people to know of what was happening to Southern states of America but also he was pleading for help for these cruelties to be ended by the powerful as members of the society in North America. Why did he aim it at the North American’s? This was because most of the powerful and rich people of America lived in the North of America. However all the racism was all hidden in the southern trees with no wind to blow it out into the open for everyone to see what was happening.
The poet wanted to make people aware of what was happening in their own country without anyone realizing. But on the other hand “Not my business’ ” purpose is to inform readers that if you don’t speak up for others’ rights then there will be no one left to stand up for you and defend you. Therefore both the purposes for these poems are similar and related as they are pleading for help towards racism and informing people. Poems consistently have target audiences. The way a poem is written matters on its target audience so that they can relate to the poem and also be able to understand it.
Both “Strange fruit” and “Not my business” comprehend as they are finding this non violent way to inform people of what is happening around them without them being aware of it. On the other hand “Strange Fruit” was mainly aiming the poem at North Americans to be able to make a change in the way people see Black people because of the suffering they had. “Not my business” widened it’s target audience to everyone who read poems to teach a lesson that you should always stand up for others’ rights so maybe when your rights are being crushed you can have a helping hand reach out and save you.
However the poet also chose the English language as this is an international language which most of the world speak therefore the poem can be read and easily accessed by lots of people around the world. This will help the sympathy and help around the world but also spreads the news faster. The most crucial way that these poems convey violence in is by the language they use and how that language creates an image in the readers mind.
“Strange fruit” uses a number of metaphors to be able to create the image of these horrific events in our minds. Using the metaphor “strange fruit” to describe the bodies hanging from the trees shows us how helpless and innocent these bodies are but also the typical associates of fruit is usually goodness and purity and suddenly as we read on we are disturbed by the images created, this is a form of juxtaposition as we believe fruit is a sign off goodness and suddenly the “Strange Fruit” is recreated as a sign of suffering.
Another frequent technique used in “Strange fruit” is harsh consonants. The use of the words like “sudden smell” in stanza eight creates a sound of evil in the reader’s mind. When we say the words it reminds people of snakes and even in the bible snakes are the reason for sin and danger and using it here helps to understand that the poem is describing to us sin and danger and helps us to concentrate more to find more gruesome things.
Using harsh consonants help create a mood of what is happening and empathize like we can see these events happening. Lastly another technique used in the language of “Strange fruit” is juxtaposition. “Scent of magnolias, sweet and fresh, then the sudden smell of burning flesh” Here as we read it an image of flowers and goodness is created in our mind which helps us to be calm; but then suddenly it describes and the mood changes with describing of the smell of the vile flesh. This is called juxtaposition.
Here the poet first plants refreshing thoughts in our mind then unexpectedly changes the thoughts; this shock tactics are used in this poem which will help the reader to feel more sympathy and also this will help the reader take more notice and for the lines to stick in people’s mind but also to show us that these were the actual images of the Southern states of America before it was polluted with Black bodies hanging form the trees. This has an intemperate effect on you to see the effects of these events.
But also here it is being shown that from this beautiful scene and how suddenly these bodies have changed the scene unexpectedly. These are some of the ways that Lewis Allen portrays violence. “Not my business” also uses its language to be able to portray violence. In this poem rhetorical questions are used to portray violence. “What business of mine is it as long as they don’t take the yam from my savoring mouth? ” The answer of this question is the title therefore it refers back to what it’s all about how he does not care and believes it’s not his business.
Using this technique shows that the person involved in this poem does not care at all but also he uses the questions to be able to convince himself that this business is nothing to do with him and if he keeps to himself he won’t have to face it that everything will change for the good! The sudden shock is created when he has to care as they are back for him this time. All this time of carelessness now who would care for him? Another technique used here is metaphors for example when Akanni is described that they “beat him soft like clay.