Flag Analysis by John Agard

In the poem, 'Flag' Agard conveys the materialistic values that people have towards their countries. Agard metamorphically states that a country's flag can bring a nation to its knees'. This symbolizes the respect people have toward their country and how it will give patriotic men an adrenaline rush that will stir them to fight for their country. Some say there is no escaping from the flag since it is like an invisible chain binding it's citizens to fight for its country.

John Agard further portrays the flag as something that 'dares a coward to relent'. This illustrates how people are forced to obey when it comes to their country and this makes them fearful. However, another interpretation is that people are not brave with those taking over their land.

John Agard continues with this vivas description of the flag and he harshly says that the flag 'will outlive the blood you bleed'. Through this statement, the reader understands the flag is there for more than a lifetime, even when the people representing it are dead. From one perspective this illustrates Agard's opinion that humans are generally weaker and less important than the flag.

Throughout the poem 'Flag' in each stanza, John Agard personifies the flag as 'just a piece of cloth'. Its repetition indicates Agard's sarcasm. The word cloth allows the reader to visualize it as an everyday garment or simply a rag. But the reader knows the flag is more than just a cloth'. It is a powerful cloth that ironically is so small yet wields the power to take the lives of people.

Also, every first line of each stanza describes the flags as 'fluttering', 'unfurling', 'rising', 'flying'. These verbs show that the flag isn't at the same place all the time and people everywhere in the world are honor bound to protect it.

flag by john agard analysis


Lastly, in the poem 'Flag', we deduce John Agard's extreme dislike to people who are blood loyal to their country. Agard displays his hatred to the flag as he mentions none of its good qualities and instead how it has changed people for the worse. In the last syntax, he refers to the flag as something that will 'blind your conscience to an end'. This lexis connotes that the flag is not only a curse but burdens people with heavy losses. Through this hypole, some may hold the opinion that the flag is a blindfold for power hungry, greedy aspirants who will do anything to gain control of more land.

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