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

n the poem Africa explore how Tagore conveys the changes which have occurred in Africa due to the influence of Western imperialism.

Extracts from this document...


In the poem "Africa" explore how Tagore conveys the changes which have occurred in Africa due to the influence of Western imperialism. Rabindranath Tagore's poem "Africa" explores the negative impacts of Western imperialism on the traditional cultures of Africa. The destruction of these traditional cultures, and. with it, the inherent values of the people can be seen through the structure of three stanzas. A contrast is conveyed between the period before the coming of the Europeans, the time during colonization and the post-colonial period, clearly demonstrating the hypocrisy and horror of Western imperialism. Tagore, who lived in British colonial India, wrote the poem originally in Bengali and it was translated by William Radice into English sometime later. As a supporter of Indian nationalism Targore identified British imperialism as a "political symptom of our social disease". "Africa" was written in response to Mussolini's invasion of Ethiopia in 1935 and is a polemical poem influenced by tribal art and Tagore's interest in prehistoric cultures. Through the use of language in this poem, Tagore manages to represent the changes that Africa went through because of Western colonization. ...read more.


The negative lexis "snatched" suggests Africa being separated from Asia. The parallel structure in 'you ridiculed horror ... you cowed fear' emphasizes Africa's triumph over these traditional enemies of humanity which highlights Africa in a positive light. This increases the sense of sorrow at the continent succumbing to European 'contempt'. From Tagore's description of pre colonial Africa it is evident that he condemns the conquest by Europe, as the natural ability of Africa to develop and mature was "snatched away" to be controlled by Westerners, resulting in ignorance and slow growth. The conquest of Africa and the changes that it went through can be seen more clearly in stanza two where the lexis connotes Africa as a dark and mysterious place. The diction "shadowy" sets the tone as mystifying and places the image of Africa as sinister. Tagore uses anthropomorphism to describe the conquest by Europe: 'under your black veil...Your human aspect remained unknown' and this connotes how Africa's very 'otherness' was misunderstood by the invaders who failed to realise the potential of Africa's human resources. The lexis 'iron manacles' emphasizes the oppression of Western civilization and contrasts to the nature described in stanza one. ...read more.


The onomatopoeia 'howls' is sinister in tone, and the heavy vowels suggest hunger in Africa. Tagore is prophetic about the hostile future of civilization and his hope is that the last words 'midst of murderous insanity' are for forgiveness, that the hypocrisy of the West will cease to exist. The lexis choice of the soft plosives midst and murderous leave the reader with a mystifying feeling to the effects of post-colonization. Tagore uses the 3 stanza structure to connote the changes that Africa went through pre and post colonization and it is clear to the reader that Tagore feels that the imposition of Western civilization placed upon Africa was murderous and against the natural order. Tagore condemns the West in his final stanza with the symbol of a 'dying light' showing that Western colonialism receives no support from him. This is clear in his use of the phrase "despoiled Africa" which shows how little has been left for the traditional inhabitants. In a powerful suggestion to the transgressors, Tagore wants to seek acknowledgement of their actions as they plead for forgiveness. Tagore demonstrates that the conquest by Europe is barbaric because it changes and destroys the potential for African cultures to develop in their own time. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate World Literature 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 International Baccalaureate World Literature essays

  1. Rabindranath Tagore. The play, The Post Office was written during the year 1911-1914. ...

    The Indian people wanted supremacy against their own people and this is a main cause for classes. These people were so taken over by what the British had to offer, they decided to obey the British rules and be their puppets.

  2. True West IOP

    But that's probably nothing compared to the house we turned into a pigsty. There were some leftovers in the fridge a few days ago, now there are only a couple of beers, unfinished twelve-pack. The rest of the pack is around - some cans on the table, some rolling on the floor...

  1. Extended essay-The bean trees

    "He actually says here that he misses me. She mulled over and over, twisting her gold wedding band around her finger. She had stopped wearing it about the time she started working at the salsa factory, but now put it on again almost guiltily."28 This quote is very significant to

  2. Symbolism in The Sorrow of War "

    Yellow symbolizes depression caused by war and it is used to emphasize how war ruins people. In the quote ?Nearing the end of his life, whether painting with oils or on silk, whether painting a man or a horse or a cow, whether it was rainy or sunny, morning or

  1. The Old English epic poem Beowulf demonstrates the Anglo-Saxon ideal of leadership as personified ...

    The Beowulf poet describes how Hrothgar, like numerous other kings of the time, ordered his followers to build the great mead hall, Heorot, where he feasts with his warriors and rewards them: So his mind turned To hall-building: he handed down orders For men to work on a great mead-hall

  2. Moods, colors and people of the deep blue sea are portrayed in The Sound ...

    17. ?The dark indigo sea?(p.15) 18. ?A sleet-like spray of salt water?(p.15) 19. ?Sinking back into the sea?(p.16) 20. ?Shinji stood with his legs spread wide, one foot streched to the prow,and continued his endless tug-of-war against whatever there was in the sea.?(p.16) 21. ?But the sea was not surrending?(p.16) 22.

  1. How does Oswald use the notion of contrast to create poetic effects on the ...

    For short, men disturb the peace of nature. So we have here two sets of voices: one poetic, where the man respects the nature, and one pragmatic, where the man disturbs the nature. The second main couple of themes, nature and human nature, is as well very effective in creating contrast in the poem.

  2. Virgils influence in Dantes Inferno

    Dante does not yet question Virgil?s judgment until Canto XXI when Malacoda offers to send ten devils to escort Virgil and Dante to the sixth bolgia.

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