Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Two Scavengers in a Truck, Two Beautiful People in a Mercedes and Nothi

Two Scavengers in a Truck, Two Beautiful People in a Mercedes and Nothing’s Changed Two Scavengers in a Truck, Two Beautiful People in a Mercedes (Lawrence Ferlinghetti) and Nothing’s Changed (Tatamkhulu Afrika) The American Constitution clearly states that all men are created equally and should have the same opportunities as each other. However, Ferlinghetti believes this is not true. In his observation he sees the garbagemen or ‘scavengers’ tired and weary from their route, working hard but still in unavoidable poverty. Also using a word like scavengers he compares the garbagemen to rodents scrounging a living at the bottom of society. He then sees the ‘elegant’ couple in an ‘elegant’ Mercedes, loving their life, not a care in the world, both wealthy and smart. The woman ‘so casually coifed’ and the man in ‘a hip three piece suit’ who, have both benefited from the inequality of the American Constitution, taking it easy in their heavenly life. Ferlinghetti understands the unfairness of the Constitution but knows deep down that it cannot change and will never change. In the poem Ferlinghetti makes many contrasts between the scavengers and the elegant couple. The title shows us straight away that the poem will be about the contrasts between two pairs of people. ‘Scavengers’ is a derogatory term for the garbagemen because it suggests that they live off the rubbish of others - a scavenger beetle lives off rotting flesh. However, ‘Beautiful People’ is a compliment. So, right from the start, we feel the garbagemen are at a disadvantage. Ferlinghetti also chose these words to describe their different classes, as they are strong indications of who they are and what they do for a living. Scavenger impl... ...o both speak about the corruption of the systems of which they are under. Ferlinghetti uses the phrase ‘across that small gulf In the high seas of this democracy’ This simple phrase begs the question - Is this really a democracy? Afrika chooses not to ask the question directly, but expects you to ask the question yourself. In his autobiography he wrote: ‘We may have a new constitution, we may have on the face of it a beautiful democracy, but the racism in this country is absolutely redolent. We try to pretend to the world that it does not exist, but it most certainly does, all day long, every day, shocking and saddening and terrible. I am full of hope. But I won't see a change in my lifetime. It's going to take a long time. In America it's taken all this time and it's still not gone... So it will change. But not quickly, not quickly at all.’

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