‘Even Tho’ by Grace Nichols
LO) To explore how Nichols conveys
the nature of relationship through
language and structure.
What impression of the poem do you
get from these images?
Grace Nichols
Grace Nichols grew up in Guyana, on the
northern coast of South America, facing onto
the Caribbean. This poem explores the nature of
relationship in this type of environment.
Grace Nichols – creating a ‘voice’
Keywords: Creole, standard English, poet's voice, language
choice, relationships, carnival, succulent
First, read the poem
Standard English
Shows convergence of
both cultures
Creole dialect
Even Tho
Sounds primitive
With contrasting
4 line stanza
togetherness of
the two
Shows love + togetherness
Man I love
but won’t let you devour
To consume greedily, she sees
herself as fruit for him to eat,
Gives impression that he has fairly
dominant role
even tho
I’m all watermelon
and starapple and plum
when you touch me
Extended metaphor for
him eating her – image
suggests physically
1st 2 lines show
Exotic fruitssucculent, juicy.
A metaphor for
herself. Suggests
she’s soft, exotic
for him
4 line stanza continues
breaks with 1st + last stanza
reinforces their separate
Links to primal
Creole dialect used to
convey convergence with
Guyana culture
Primal language
used, suggests
even tho
I’m all seamoss
and jellyfish
and tongue
Slightly less appealing
image + more orientated
towards taste/ texture rather
than food.
Juxtaposition of these items
is unusual but continues
Caribbean theme.
leh we go to de carnival
You be banana Metaphors – idea of more
balanced relationship as
they are both portrayed as
I be avocado
fruit + go to carnival togethe
Creole dialect
helps to
Enjoyable, indulgent
Contrasting feeling
Repetition and rhyme
helps to reinforce their
leh we hug up physical connection
and brace-up
and sweet one another up
But then
leh we break free
yes, leh we break free
Suggests forcefully disconnect,
repetition of ‘break’ suggests it’s
difficult to do
reinforces sense of
‘breaking free’
throughout the
And keep to de motion
of we own person/ality
Oxymoron –
reinforces contrast
of individuals
Language: the combination of standard
English and Creole link colonial roots.
Moves seamlessly from one to the
other, like Nichols’ own comments on
her feeling at home in both cultures.
back to
line 8/9
of sea
They stay true
+ strong to themselves
Possibly expressing the
need for individuals to
maintain their own
Guyana enriched by
Caribbean, myths +
landscape + culture. This
poem embraces both
How does the poet use language, form
and punctuation to convey the nature
of the relationship in the poem ‘Even
o show an understanding of the use of language, form and
o demonstrate the ability to make relevant connections between the
techniques used and the presentation of the nature of the
o use the ‘PEEE’ technique to show the link between form and point
of view.
• Have you:
– understood the ways Nichols has used language and structure to
convey the nature of her relationship;
– connected with the different attitudes presented.
• Discuss how successfully the poet conveys the balance of
being close and yet still needing freedom within a
• For English Literature, find another poem in Relationships
that explores a relationship between a woman and a man
through one (or more) strong personal voice. Compare the
impact that the relationship has on them as readers.