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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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. The title also means a region on the border between Heaven and Hell, referring to the slave’s journey on the ship as, in their eyes, India is Heaven and America is Hell, and they are in the middle of the two, journeying towards Hell. Alternatively, the word means a state of uncertainty or a state of imprisonment or confinement. The slave’s were imprisoned on the ship with no means of escape, their future already mapped out in front of them.

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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.

A lot of language devices have been applied in “Limbo”. The word “stick” is mentioned six times in the poem, and each way can be interpreted differently. In Limbo, the dance, dancers have to take turns going under ...

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