Name Journeys: AQA Worlds and Lives

Name Journeys

the Punjabi in my mouth, became dislodged as milk teeth fell

Raman Mundair


The speaker begins with comparing themselves and their sense of isolation to the Hindu deity Rama. They go on to lament their loneliness by highlighting their lack of a companion, like deity Sita, and to describe the connection and similarities between Sita and themselves. They go on to talk about their name and use it as a metaphor for the sense of discord they have felt moving from the Punjab to England.

Name Journeys Context

Raman Mundair was born in India and moved to Manchester in the 1970s at the age of five. She is a multidisciplinary artist and has said, ‘I play with voice, I play with the many tongues I have, and manipulate the many forms I can take’.

She has also said that upon moving to England, she was ‘put in a class for the educationally subnormal’ and ‘learnt English in order to disrupt it’.

Mundair identifies as neurodiverse, disabled, Queer and a British Asian intersectional feminist. She challenges the ideas of stereotypes and doesn’t want her work to be reductive. Her work questions the construction of identities and she says her writings are ‘meditations on the outsider’.


Name Journeys is written in free verse and structured in 12 unrhymed open couplets. This means there is enjambment used to create run-on lines between the couplets.

By structuring the poem in this way, the writer draws attention to the images within each individual couplet and encourages a slower, more deliberate reading of the poem.

The couplets follow no pattern or meter; this could suggest the discord between the speaker’s two identities and cultures, her past and present.


Belonging – Mundair feels displaced, a stranger in her ‘homeland’ and the inverse of Grace Nichols in Like an Heiress.

Identity – allusions to Hinduism show a speaker steeped in a strong religious and cultural identity.

Language – interlinks with identity and belonging as the musicality of the speaker’s Punjabi tongue is juxtaposed with the coarseness of the Mancunian accent and dialect.

Transitions – a personal journey is tracked via changes in geography, culture and language, with the speaker undergoing an uncomfortable spiritual transformation.

Linking to other Poems

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