• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Post-colonial literature: "A far cry from Africa" by Derek Walcott.

Extracts from this document...


Post-colonial literature: "A far cry from Africa" by Derek Walcott In essence, this poem is about Walcott discussing his divided loyalties, between his ties with Africa and to Britain. The title of the poem hints at Walcott's cultural instability. He seems to believe that he is somewhat 'cursed' because of his mixed race: "I who am poisoned with the blood of both,/Where shall I turn, divided to the vein?" . The poem is in a sense the poets cry for help. The first stanza invites sympathy for the settlers, members of the oppressing class who may nevertheless be innocent, like "the white child hacked in bed." But the next line notes bitterly that black "savages, expendable as Jews," have also been victims of mass-murder. ...read more.


The fact that Walcott is of mixed race is advantageous by the fact that he is able to contemplate the faults of each culture without reverting to the bias created by attention to moral considerations. Walcott portrays the African Kikuyu in a negative light: "flies/Batten upon the bloodstream of the veldt". Here Walcott is likening the Kikuyu to savages who abuse their countries fertile resources, insinuating that the arrival of the British appears beneficial not only to the inhabitants, but also to the suffering land. However, Walcott contrasts this image of the British as liberators by giving an unfavourable description of them in the subsequent lines: "The worm, colonial of carrion, cries:/'Waste no compassion on these separate dead!'". Here Walcott likens the British to worms, animals which are at the bottom of the food chain. ...read more.


In these more positive lines Walcott identifies the aspects of each culture that he admires. He prefers the African terrain and way of life, and favours the English language and literary tradition. Both of theses two cultures hold various attractions for Walcott and the tension which this causes for Walcott increases as the poem continues. The final lines of the poem show that Walcott has by no means found an answer to solve his dilemma: "How can I face such slaughter and be cool?/How can I turn from Africa and live?" . Walcott feels burdened with guilt by his split loyalties. He wishes to adopt the "civilized" culture of the British, but cannot substantiate their abuse of the Africans. The fact that Walcott cannot resolve the inconsistency of his mixed races is revealed by the dismay he shows throughout the poem. Richard Stephens 28/04/2007 1 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Comparing poems section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Comparing poems essays

  1. Clash of cultures coursework

    whereas the couple on the train seem to only really fall apart when the young woman expresses her disgust for her husband's actions. The reason behind the breakdown of the relationship in "The Young Couple" appears to be due to Cathy's unwillingness to co-operate with Naraian's family who are becoming

  2. Different Cultures

    The reader gets to give an opinion of the character. For example in Veronica Okeke tells the story in first person so he gives his opinion on people but in Country Lovers the story is told in third person so the reader can give his/her own judgment.

  1. Discuss and compare ways in which relationships between members of different races are presented ...

    This is what he wants. He creates an alternate identity, which brand nationality and race as completely irrelevant. He is able to do this through his isolation in the desert. This isolation is mirrored in the Villa, which provides the perfect environment for an identity to be ignored.

  2. Discuss the Reasons Browning(TM)s Characters Have for Murdering Their Victims

    The weather is used to reflect the cottager's feelings, 'the sullen wind'. Although the setting is quite gothic, it is also romantic. A cottage in the country with beautiful scenery, then a woman 'gliding' in and making it warm by lighting the fire 'she shut the cold out.'

  1. Imagery in Johnny Got His Gun and Cry, the Beloved Country

    Joe is able to call Shale City home because he is comfortable with the people and the activities in this town. His friends and the town's beautiful physical aspects make Joe feel like a part of the town, like he belongs there.

  2. American Studies - Migrations of identity in African American literature.

    Jim Trueblood's name is of significance within the broader theme of the novel by means of which it implies that he is "true to his blood" and existence. In the scene in which the narrator meets Trueblood with Mr Norton, it becomes evident that Trueblood's incest has become set up

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work