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Limbo Evaluation

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Limbo How does the poem 'Limbo' reveal Brathwaite's ideas and feelings about the culture and traditions he is writing about? The poem describes the similarities between the limbo dance and the journey the African Slaves went through while they were travelling to America and the West Indies. Throughout the poem you get the impression of possession which would have been the white people having possession over the African Slaves. On line 43 of the poem it says 'and the dumb gods are raising me' this could refer to the Slave Drivers raising them up because they have successfully completed the journey; it also refers to them as 'Dumb' so this emphasises the barrier between them. The word 'Limbo' has many different meanings including: * The dance where you were expected to bend backwards and walk under a low lying pole. * A place for lost and neglected things * Roman Catholics believed it was the place for unbaptized but innocent or righteous souls such as infants and virtuous individuals (place between heaven & hell) The meaning of the word 'Limbo' relates to the poem because the African Slaves were neglected while aboard the ship taking them to the West Indies and America. ...read more.


To create the unhappy atmosphere it uses quite weak vocabulary like: dark, silence, down and darkness. These all emphasise the atmosphere around the slaves but also how the slaves are feeling because they are all confined in a small space. Towards the end of the poem the mood changes to relief that they had successfully completed their journey, this is indicated this way because on line 40 it says 'sun coming up' the sun in the sign that it's a new day but also the sun is the symbol of hope. So this suggests that the slaves are now more hopeful because they have finished their journey but also the dance. The ranges of techniques that are used within a poem are essential because it gives the poem a whole new level. Within this poem Edward Kamau Brathwaite uses repetition a lot. For example he repeats the adjectives 'dark deck' on lines 16 and 14 to give feelings of imprisonment. He repeats these two words because while aboard the ship all the slaves are able to see is the 'dark deck' that is surrounding them. He uses the word dark throughout the poem, he uses it to describe the night (line 7), the deck (line 16, 17, 21 & 23), the ground (line 33) ...read more.


The limbo stick is 'in front of me' (line 7) and 'down down down' (lines 34 - 36) and 'out of the dark and the dumb gods are raising me' (lines 40 and 41). This relates to what the slaves would see, for example 'in front of me' they would only see the ship in front of them after that they them would travel 'down down down' into the hull of the ship and then at the end of the journey they are brought back up to the outside of the ship so the 'out of the dark' section comes in. The poem 'Limbo' relates to Brathwaite's ideas and feeling about the culture and tradition by using many different techniques to emphasise the feelings of despair and vulnerability. Limbo suggest Brathwaite's feelings on the culture were that they were quite passive and meek as they stood back and let the white people take them and take their families away from them. In slave time the tradition was that coloured people were less important than the white people and this is pointed out in the poems because he refers to the white slave drivers as 'dumb gods' this gives them no respect as he uses the word dumb. ...read more.

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