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give full summary of 'soap' poem by nissim ezekiel.full summery

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kedardhekane121 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted December 15, 2011 at 5:03 PM via web

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give full summary of 'soap' poem by nissim ezekiel.

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eir | College Teacher | (Level 3) Adjunct Educator

Posted December 16, 2011 at 3:40 PM (Answer #1)

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On the surface this is a poem about an ordinary incident: a guy tries to buy soap and doesn’t like what he gets, but after much arguing accepts it.  The poem is, however, also about language use.

How to get started in analyzing it: Ezekiel is a Jewish author of Indian nationality, writing in English. The poem’s tone is humorous: the words are in English, the grammar and diction have a Yiddish feel and the narrator tells us that he speaks to the shopkeeper in Hindi.

Although it is the soap that is called “defective” in the poem, the shopkeeper’s manners, and the narrator’s English might also to be said to be “broken.”  Importantly just as the narrator eventually accepts the defective soap (think of soap as a symbol of cleansing and civilizing) in order to read the poem you also accept the non-standard English, and perhaps even enjoy the tussle that you have with it and your first feelings of outrage about it.

The poem is from a larger collection, Very Indian Poems in Indian English.


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