Comparison of Verses “Limbo” and “Nothing Has Changed”

This sample paper on Limbo Poem offers a framework of relevant facts based on recent research in the field. Read the introductory part, body, and conclusion of the paper below.

The poems “Limbo” and “Nothing’s Changed” have a lot in common if you look past the actual words into the meaning of the poems, you will see they both originate from the same theme; racism.

“Limbo” tells the story of the Limbo dance and the joy of performing it. The poem is telling the story of a slave travelling from Africa to the West Indies in a slave ship.

On the long journey, the slaves invented a dance called the Limbo dance which kept them fit and healthy so they could survive the journey. The dance involved walking underneath a stick only bending your knees; the stick started off low down then gradually went up every time you went underneath it without touching the stick.

“Nothing’s Changed” is a poem based on the segregation of white people and black people in Cape Town, South Africa.

In 1940, apartheid was gripping over South Africa, the rich white people earned 12 times as much as the black people. There was no actual law abut it but everybody knew it, the black people were forbidden to go where white people went. The poet is expressing his views about how bad the situation is and how much he hates it in this poem.

Nothing In Comparison

In both poems, they involve white people taking advantage of black people and they both come from the view of black people and tell us how they are treated.

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However this is not so obvious in the poem “Limbo”, it can be spotted by the opinion the African Slave has of the White people in charge of the ship, the quote “the dumb gods are raising me” could mean the guards of the slaves picking him up to throw him off the ship. In Nothing’s Changed, this is more obvious because the poem tells the reader about District 6 where all the black people live, how they are not allowed in the posh restaurants with white linen table cloths and how they have their own scummy cafe with dirty floors and plastic tables.

Another similarity of both poems is the way they both use sound words to portray the environment and setting.

In “Limbo”, the sound words such as “silence, knock and drum” set the rhythm of the poem and give the impression of the actual Limbo dance. In “Nothing’s Changed”, sound words are used to give the impression of the places in which the African walks from and to; it also gives the reader a more visual image of the two restaurants. Examples of these words are “click, crunch and crush” which are hard sound words and grant the reader the impression of a hard life to live.

In the same respect of using hard sound words, both poems portray a bleak picture of the locations where these two Africans spent their time. The setting of the ship in “Limbo” is a big dark boat in which resides evil, it does not portray a place where you would like to be.

The setting in “Nothing’s Changed” is different from the ship because it does not sound all that bad; it sounds like a nice place however there is the underlying segregation that makes the reader feel hatred for the place. The poet shows us the area then he shows us the people that live in the area and that is what turns the reader around. Also, the way the scene is set in “Nothing’s Changed” does not motivate people to pack their stuff and hop on the next plane, the harsh words and attention to detail like “amiable weeds”, and “it squats, in the grass and weeds” do not exactly make it sound like a dream come true.

Both poems involve one culture taking control and forcing the other to work for them, in “Limbo”, the Africans are taken from their homes and forced to work for the white people, while in “Nothing’s Changed” the white people own all the money and in doing so are lording over the natives. This theme for a poem suggests that the poets share the same opinion in that they do not like the English controlling the Africans and forcing them to live a life of poverty with little or no money.

However the poets do differ on some occasions in their poems, “Limbo” and “Nothing’s Changed” have very different views on what should be done about their predicament. In “Limbo”, the message is one of acceptance and is telling the reader to accept the consequences and try and make the best of it. This is shown by the dance; it is depicted as being a joyous dance which is fun and exhilarating. Poems about slavery are not usually joyous and happy, but sad and full of hatred; this is because they are usually complaining about slavery.

“Nothing’s Changed” does not encourage people to accept what is happening but to act upon it, it is a revolutionary poem full of hatred and it conveys that hatred to it’s audience to put an end to the maltreatment and poverty of black people. The last line in the poem: “Nothing’s Changed” brings about a dramatic end to the poem and the last stanza is one full of evil thoughts toward the white people.

The layouts of the poems differ as well, “Limbo” has short stanzas and the layout indicates that of the movement of the dance, this helps the poem along with the beat. Meanwhile in “Nothing’s Changed”, the poet has made no obvious attempt to lay it out in a particular form other than stanzas arranged like paragraphs. I believe that the poet does not need to amplify his point with the layout but merely express himself with words.

The major difference between the two poems though is the punctuation, in “Limbo” there is none but in “Nothing’s Changed” there is quite a lot. The abundance of punctuation in “Nothing’s Changed” shows that the poem was written for the fact of being read like a poem; unlike “Limbo” with no punctuation but a steady rhythm, it indicates it is like a song. The use of punctuation is clever because it forces the reader to read with a slower place and thus creating the effect of a hateful and despairing tone.

The two poems are based on the same theme with some minor differences in the language and settings but both poets feel strongly on anti-racism but go their different ways about it. “Limbo” and “Nothing’s Changed” are the same in view but are completely opposite in the way they go about repairing it; one says acceptance while the other has a mind for war!

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Comparison of Verses “Limbo” and “Nothing Has Changed”. (2019, Dec 06). Retrieved from

Comparison of Verses “Limbo” and “Nothing Has Changed”
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