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Singh Song Analysis

Content
 The speaker Daljit was a second generation immigrant born in UK, and the poem describes that he
works in his father’s corner shop, but that his father would like him to work long hours.
 The speaker is newly married and he takes breaks to go upstairs and be with his wife.
 The shoppers are unimpressed with his absence, and his new bride seems to be unconventional, rejecting
stereotypical attitudes
 When the shop is closed, the couple sit downstairs and stare out at the moon.
Context
 The poet was born in West London, and moved to Sheffield as a teenager when his father opened a shop
there.
 His work frequently describes the experience of immigrants.
 In Singh Song, the Indian accent is reappropriated, and the rhythm and meter are fun and songlike.
 The poem makes use of stereotypes of Indian immigrant communities and challenges what it means.
Analysis
Title: Singh (Sanskrit meaning ‘Lion’) is a name of title. It is also a pun suggesting an upbeat rhythm. Song like
quality is conveyed through the use of half rhyme (ground/mouse), full rhyme (cool/stool) and refrain
Form: Dramatic Monologue, allows the readers to explore the conflict of work and relationships
Structure:
Stanzas 1-4: Alternating between stanzas to talk about work and marriage, symbolizes that he is torn between
his wife and career
Stanzas 5-7: “my bride, my bride my ride”  emphasis on love relationship
Theme: conflict between love, cultures, parents, expectation of public and private life
1st stanza: “I run just one ov my daddy’s shops”: ‘just one’ implies his father has many more shops; perhaps
suggesting he is proud of his father, but that he doesn’t live up to expectations. ‘daddy’: colloquial and childlike
Repetition of ‘d’ and ‘v’ sounds  alliterative and rhythmic
”from 9 o’clock to 9o’clock”  monotonous and repetitive nature of his job
Phonetic spellings are used to replicate an Indian accent
”but when nobody’s in, I do di lock”  separating public (downstairs in the shop) and private life (behind the
store, life with his new wife)
2nd stanza: anaphora and assonance of “ee” sound increases pace and rhythm, mimics the rough time he has
with his wife
”like vee rowing through the Putney” comic simile to denote the passion of their marriage (Putneyis the
Punjabi word for ‘wife’)
3rd stanza: Love for his wife overrides economic concern or public pride
Ven I returned vid my pinnie untied (euphemism)
 “di shoppers always point and cry”  conflict between expectation and reality
4th stanza: puns on cat and mouse, and the use of in the internet, ambiguous – is the wife being faithful to the
husband?/is hse running an online business?
Next three stanzas: Anaphora of “my bride” could be interpreted in several ways. Pride? Disbelief?
 “in all di colors of Punjabi”  vibrant (she is full of life, full of energy)
Unexpected behavior of the bride and the conflict of her with her new in-laws (swearing at the mother and
making fun of the father)
 “my bride/tiny eyes ov a gun/and the tummy ov a teddy”
 Unflattering descriptions which contrast each other, metaphor suggests she is calculated, precise and
dangerous, but also suggests that she is lovable and cuddly
”my bride/she hav a red crew cut/and she wear a Tartan sari/a donkey jacket and some pumps”: unexpected
appearance (stereotypically), wife has embraced aspects of Western culture, maybe a clash/mix of culture
”n do squeak ov di girls dat are pinching my sweeties”: refers back to ‘cat and mouse’ stanza – it is the wife
doing the chasing again
8th stanza: Euphemism
Shoppers are not satisfied with the shop’s service?
”Ven di precinct is concrete-cool/vee cum down whispering stairs/and sit on my silver stool”: alliteration and
sibilance slows the pace, marking a change in tone – measured and calm
vee stare past di half-price window signs/at di beaches ov di UK in di brightey moon  conflict between first
and second generations of Indians, speaker’s love for the Indian culture coupled with the love of his new
homeland (romantic image of beaches and moon)
Last four stanzas: anaphora shows the tenderness between the couple or the repetitive nature of their
interactions, money is less important than love
 Song like structure with a refrain and anaphora – upbeat and joyful poem