In ‘The City Planners’ by Margaret Atwood and ‘The Planners’ by Boey Kim Cheng, both poet uses the structure of the poem and language techniques to form the difference between the place itself and its identity. The uniformity between these two poems is the feelings of the poet expresses for this place. In ‘The City planners’ Atwood describes the place as “dry August sunlight”, this portrays an imagery of no lighting, dark and negative and also suggests to the readers that she do not like where she are.
Similarly, in “The Planners” where the poet expresses to the readers that he dislikes the atmosphere because “All spaces are gridded” which gives an imagery of there is no free space around this area. Both the poet highlights the identity of the city is perfect but in a negative way. Atwood uses sibilance in “cutting a straight swath in the discouraged grass. ” This emphasizes that even nature is not freely grown, and it must get permission from the planners.
Of no difference in “The Planners” Cheng also uses nature and the same language techniques of sibilance o “skies surrender” which is suggesting the buildings are so high that the sky is scared of it. The city gives a feeling of unpleasant but the image of the city seemed to be perfect. Both poet is starting to introduce to the readers that the city is not as perfect as they have seen, they expresses the feeling of resentment. In “The City Planners” Atwood uses sibilance of “the roofs all display the same slant’ this portrays an imagery of the roof is facing the same way.
The words “same slant” which hints that the house is all the same, the image of the house, the direction its facing, and also the lighting is coming from the same way. The surrounding of this place, gives a feeling of boring and lost. Because everything is the same and she cannot recognise where she is and when will the journey is going to finish. In “The Planners’ Cheng uses personification of “The country wears perfect rows of shining teeth”, this creates an imagery of the city itself is looking so perfect but with “dental dexterity” which suggesting that the powerful people ‘they’ are creating a perfect image for the city.
Both poem refers to the place is not in beauty itself and when you spend more time and being very focus at it, you will realise its flaws. Atwood and Cheng use structure of the poem to highlight the exact opposite between the place and its image. Atwood is contradicting what she said in the beginning of the poem where nature is not allowed to be grown anywhere they like. But toward the end of the poem Atwood says that the “houses, capsized, will slide”, this listing creates a strong feeling of fearfulness and how danger is this place in the future.
But “right now nobody notices. ” Atwood finishes the poem of using contradictions that the “panic of suburb” which hints that this place is getting closer the problem. Cheng uses irony in “The Planners” where “history is new again”, history is something that is true which is happening in the pass. No one can change history. The planners can only change the image (identity) of the place but they can never change its pass. History is something that will remain in people’s mind as memory and therefore they can remember it forever.
Both poems show the difference between the identity and its background and what the place really are. Atwood and Cheng express the difference of the identity to itself of the place. The contradictions and irony hints that the image of the place and itself can be very different. Give the message to the readers that do not judge a someone or a something by its appearance because the external may look perfect but its internal or the interior can be vice versa.