Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.
THE BEGGAR
• TATAMKHULU AFRIKA
“All we see of someone at any moment
is a snapshot of their life, there in riches
or povert...
Figure of speech activity
• Find examples of :
– Simile (3)
– Alliteration (3)
– Personification (1)
– Metaphor (1)
• Choo...
BACKGROUND OF THE POET:
• Novelist and prize-winning poet,
Tatamkhulu Afrika was born in Egypt
in 1920.
• He came to South...
LINES 1 – 3
1. When I passed
2. the bus-stop, his black
3. as biltong hand
1. I = A personal experience
3.1. ‘black/as bil...
Lines 3 – 4
4. thrust out,
5. demanding alms.
4. Thrust = A sharp forward
motion.
Begging is usually seen as a
submissive,...
Lines 5 – 8
5. Beneath the grime,
6. he was a yellow man,
7. and small,
8. and crumpled as a towel,
5. Grime = dirt
6. 1. ...
Lines 9 – 10
9. eyes receding into bone,
10. shivering, too thin frame
11. denying the truculence of the hand.
9. Receding...
12. “No,” I said,
13. and walked on,
14. annoyed that I was annoyed,
Lines 12 – 16
The speaker is so irritated that he is ...
17. Coming back,
18. the day-long drizzle stopped
19. and a suddenly clear
20. sky sang**
Lines 17 – 20
On the speaker’s r...
22. of summer round the bend,
23. white sails in the Bay,
24. birds grown garrulous again.
Lines 22 – 24
These lines discu...
25. I looked for him.
26. He was lying on his back in the sun,
27. eyes closed,
Lines 25 – 27
The speaker, having mentione...
28. stretched out long as a spill,
29. hardly* distinguishable**
30. from any of the other
31. drifts of debris in the lan...
32. “Drunk again,” I thought,
33. and paused, then pressed
34. my penance into his palm.
Lines 32 – 34
Stereotype alert!
A...
35. Quick as a trap,
36. his fingers lashed
37. over it: surprised
Lines 35 – 37
Trap: A device in which something
(usuall...
38. sober eyes blessed
39. me for being kind.
Lines 38 – 39
Confirmation that the beggar is the
exception to the stereotyp...
40. Then he slept again,
41. fist wrapped tight,
42. about the bribe my guilt refused,
The decision to give the beggar som...
43. limbs thrown wide
44. as though a car had flung him there
45. and left him to a healing of the sun.
Lines 43 – 45
Agai...
LAST WORD:
• The poem is literally dealing with the speaker’s
experience with a beggar and the process he
goes through whi...
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in …5
×

The Beggar - Tatamkhulu Afrika

1,992 views

Published on

Analysis of The Beggar (Poem) by Tatamkhulu Afrika. Line by line analysis of content, figures of speech, general theory and broader context.

Published in: Education

The Beggar - Tatamkhulu Afrika

  1. 1. THE BEGGAR • TATAMKHULU AFRIKA “All we see of someone at any moment is a snapshot of their life, there in riches or poverty, in joy or despair. Snapshots don't show the million decisions that led to that moment.” Richard Bach “Did universal charity prevail, earth would be a heaven, and hell a fable.” Charles Caleb Colton
  2. 2. Figure of speech activity • Find examples of : – Simile (3) – Alliteration (3) – Personification (1) – Metaphor (1) • Choose any 2 figures of speech and explain what you think they mean
  3. 3. BACKGROUND OF THE POET: • Novelist and prize-winning poet, Tatamkhulu Afrika was born in Egypt in 1920. • He came to South Africa as a young child. • He was a veteran of World War 2 and an Umkhonto we Sizwe activist in the South African struggle. • Tatamkhulu Afrika means “grandfather” or “old man” of Africa
  4. 4. LINES 1 – 3 1. When I passed 2. the bus-stop, his black 3. as biltong hand 1. I = A personal experience 3.1. ‘black/as biltong’ = figure of speech. SIMILE. His hand is being compared to biltong… common characteristic is the colour black. 2. His = clue to the beggar’s gender 3.2. Black = a reference to race? OR Is it describing the beggars cleanliness?
  5. 5. Lines 3 – 4 4. thrust out, 5. demanding alms. 4. Thrust = A sharp forward motion. Begging is usually seen as a submissive, pleading activity – however this beggar THRUSTS his hand forward. A very forceful action. 5.1. Demanding: Requesting urgently and forcefully. 5.2. Alms: Voluntary contributions to aid the poor The speaker thinks the beggar should be more humble and passive as he is not in any position of power – to make demands.
  6. 6. Lines 5 – 8 5. Beneath the grime, 6. he was a yellow man, 7. and small, 8. and crumpled as a towel, 5. Grime = dirt 6. 1. The beggar is NOT a black man – he is simply covered in grime which hides his real race. Yellow = coloured 7/8.These lines are giving further details into the beggars appearance – from the speakers perspective. 7/8. Simile: Comparing the man’s appearance to a small, crumpled towel. What does this tell us about the beggar?
  7. 7. Lines 9 – 10 9. eyes receding into bone, 10. shivering, too thin frame 11. denying the truculence of the hand. 9. Receding – Pull/move backward. Further continues the image of the beggar being ill/weak. 10.1. Why would the beggar be shivering? 10.2. Too thin frame: The beggar has a very emaciated body – due to a lack of food possibly… OR? Denying: Contradicting the truculence: defiant aggressiveness of the hand The beggars physical characteristics (weak, ill, small) oppose the strength he shows by his thrusting hand (line 4).
  8. 8. 12. “No,” I said, 13. and walked on, 14. annoyed that I was annoyed, Lines 12 – 16 The speaker is so irritated that he is abrupt. Do you think the speaker made eye contact as he walked away? The speaker is irritated by the beggar BUT he is upset that he feels this way. Is the speaker justified in feeling annoyed? Why is he feeling guilty? 15.swatting off shame 16.all the way into town. Swatting = image of getting rid of an irritation. The speaker ‘scolded’ himself all the way into town.
  9. 9. 17. Coming back, 18. the day-long drizzle stopped 19. and a suddenly clear 20. sky sang** Lines 17 – 20 On the speaker’s return, we are given an indication of the environment: day-long drizzle Unpleasant external environment linking to his inner turmoil. The day has been miserable and wet and suddenly the clouds clear up – a possible link to a sudden moment of inner clarity? Indicates a shift of mood – the poem was rather serious until this moment. Singing is usually a way to express feelings of joy and happiness. This is in direct contrast to the desperate poverty of the beggar and the anger the speaker feels. **Sky sang = Personification Explain…
  10. 10. 22. of summer round the bend, 23. white sails in the Bay, 24. birds grown garrulous again. Lines 22 – 24 These lines discuss what it is that the sky ‘sings’ about: The season is about to change from a rain-filled spring to summer. Bay = capitalized: indicating the importance of the bay to the community. The sails could be pleasure boats, but also indicate a fishing culture. Birds returning to their former garrulous (chatty) selves. Summer is a much “lighter” season – the world seems to find renewed energy and joy.
  11. 11. 25. I looked for him. 26. He was lying on his back in the sun, 27. eyes closed, Lines 25 – 27 The speaker, having mentioned external (environmental) changes, now indicates a possibly changed attitude toward the beggar. In line 14 – the speaker walked away from this man, yet he is now seeking him out. Why do you think he seeks the beggar out? (For what purpose?) Lying in the sun = creates the image of relaxation and contentment. Eyes closed = either unconscious or peacefully resting. IRONIC: The speaker has been criticising himself since he left the beggar, while the man himself appears to be totally carefree and unconcerned with the speaker’s pervious actions.
  12. 12. 28. stretched out long as a spill, 29. hardly* distinguishable** 30. from any of the other 31. drifts of debris in the lane. Lines 28 – 31 Simile – the position in which the beggar lies seems to be as careless as something spilled. **Capable of being differentiated from your surroundings. * The beggar can barely be seen as separate from… Debris: The remains of something that has been destroyed or broken up. The beggar has lived for so long under these conditions, that he has become like the broken-down objects/junk that surround him.
  13. 13. 32. “Drunk again,” I thought, 33. and paused, then pressed 34. my penance into his palm. Lines 32 – 34 Stereotype alert! All beggars are alcoholics/addicts of some kind. This links to line 25 – a change of the speaker’s attitude. He does not just walk past as he has done before. Pressed: links to the idea of exerting force. N.B. NOT aggression. Penance: Voluntary self- punishment in order to make right some act of wrongdoing. This idea links largely to the Catholic Church but many other religions demand their own forms of penance. POINTS TO PONDER: 1. What is the penance that the speaker refers to? 2. Why would he need to forcefully give his penance to the beggar?
  14. 14. 35. Quick as a trap, 36. his fingers lashed 37. over it: surprised Lines 35 – 37 Trap: A device in which something (usually an animal) can be caught. The beggar reacts immediately to the pressure of the speaker’s hand & money on his own. Lashed: To bind together using a rope etc. Although the speaker believed that the beggar was asleep (line 27) and therefore drunk (line 32) – his speedy reaction to the money lets us all know he was neither. Was the beggar surprised because he recognised the speaker? OR Is it because very few people actually stop to give him anything?
  15. 15. 38. sober eyes blessed 39. me for being kind. Lines 38 – 39 Confirmation that the beggar is the exception to the stereotype (L32). He is sober. Reinforced link to religion = confess, do penance and receive a blessing. IRONY: The beggar has so little material wealth, yet he is able to offer the speaker the blessing (and absolution*) that he seems to so desperately need. *The condition of being formally forgiven by a priest It appears so easy to be kind, but, as the speaker shows us, it often requires a lot of the person involved. The beggar believes the speaker is being kind, but is that really his main motivation? Explain.
  16. 16. 40. Then he slept again, 41. fist wrapped tight, 42. about the bribe my guilt refused, The decision to give the beggar some money was a difficult one for the speaker. The beggar does not have to deal with any such worries and returns to a peaceful sleep quite easily. The beggar appears to be worry- free, but the fact that he holds the money so tightly, lets us know that he really does have to struggle and fight to survive. Bribe: Payment made to a person in a position of trust to corrupt his judgment. The speaker says he gave the beggar the “bribe my guilt refused” – creating the idea that, although the money is HIS, keeping it will be like accepting a bribe to refuse assistance to the beggar. His feelings of guilt override the “bribe.” Lines 40 – 42 Guilt: Regret caused by feeling responsible for an offence. Why does he feel guilty?
  17. 17. 43. limbs thrown wide 44. as though a car had flung him there 45. and left him to a healing of the sun. Lines 43 – 45 Again the image of carelessness – not trapped by society’s rules. Could this represent freedom? OR A crucifixion? Image of an accident scene – a pedestrian knocked down and flung: Thrown with force or recklessness - showing very little value of his life because the image continues… The ‘car’ has left the injured beggar at the scene – to be healed by the sun – a most impractical and ineffective idea. Symbolism: What does the car represent in relation to the speaker?
  18. 18. LAST WORD: • The poem is literally dealing with the speaker’s experience with a beggar and the process he goes through while giving away the money. • Figuratively, the poet is making a statement about Apartheid South Africa. The beggar symbolises the masses – who were either ignored or forgotten by those in power. These people had real problems, but there were no feasible solutions from the government. In essence, they were suffering due to Apartheid policy, but, in return, were simply dismissed and left to“a healing of the sun.”

×