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The poem Limbo is an extended metaphor for the parallel stories of the slaves journey alongside the limbo dance. Throughout the poem, lines and stanzas can be interpreted in many different ways due to the many meanings of the overall message.

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Introduction

The poem Limbo is an extended metaphor for the parallel stories of the slave's journey alongside the limbo dance. Throughout the poem, lines and stanzas can be interpreted in many different ways due to the many meanings of the overall message. The title, "Limbo" itself has many different meanings. For example, the word stereotypically relates to the dance, made up by the slaves on board the ship in order to stay fit when attached to iron bars, in which the dancer has to go under the stick without touching it in order to stay in the game. ...read more.

Middle

The slave's were imprisoned on the ship with no means of escape, their future already mapped out in front of them. The poem is set out into 24 loose and rhythmic stanzas of varying lengths, giving the poem a beat as means to giving it backing music which the dance would involve. There are 7 repetitive choruses, making it seem more like a dance. These choruses are presented in italics to represent the echoing of the slave's replies to the guards. ...read more.

Conclusion

The "stick" also represents the whip with which the guard's used to hit the innocent slaves with to get them in line. Lastly, this could mean the drumstick, which provides the beat and therefore atmosphere for the dance. Effectively, the poem is written in 1st person, as though Brathwaite was a slave and this is his own personal experience. This adds drama to the whole poem as it is presented as a first hand account and therefore more reliable. As a reader, it also makes us more vulnerable to succumb to this feeling of frustration at the way slaves were treated and what there thoughts and feelings were. ...read more.

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