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

Discuss the importance of the ideas of roots and rootlessness in post-colonial writing by comparing at least two different texts you have studied.

Extracts from this document...


Discuss the importance of the ideas of roots and rootlessness in post-colonial writing by comparing at least two different texts you have studied. Ideas of 'roots' and 'rootlessness' are important features of post-colonial writing due to the writers' concerns with the effects of neo-colonialism. 'Roots' conveys ideas about heritage, background as well as race and culture thus 'rootlessness' occurs when people lose these identities. The loss of identity could be when people do not have history to refer back to; one of the key themes in Walcott and Rhys' writings. Due to colonialism, the traditional way the colonised used to live can not be found easily anymore. From where Walcott and Rhys comes from, the Caribbean, the colonialists had changed the official language to English and changed many different customs; this perhaps causes the feelings of 'rootlessness' as they loose their cultural identity. Both Walcott and Rhys explore these ideas in their writing to show how 'roots' and 'rootlessness' is important to the society in general, but also how they were personally affected. In 'Almond Trees', Walcott explores the ideas of 'roots' and 'rootlessness' by connecting 'roots' to ideas of history. Walcott opens the poem with a short line of 'There's nothing here', showing emptiness with bitter feelings. ...read more.


Antoinette says she does 'not want to see that ghost of a woman who they say haunts this place', which is quite ironic as she is looking at herself but she refers herself in a third person; she describes herself to be someone else. This directly linked with the ideas of self-reflected images in Walcott's poem; both look at themselves as if they are looking at someone else. This can be seen as loss of identity hence they can not define their 'roots' feeling 'rootless'. Furthermore, this leads into questioning ideas about the changed homeland thus their identity has been affected. Walcott introduces ideas of history with 'twisted, coppery, sea-almond trees'; this brings in the existence of the 'sea-almond trees' which had been there since the Caribbean was discovered by the colonialist. However, the augmented images of 'twisted, coppery' suggest the ages of the tress and the length of the tree's existence. Conversely, it could also mean that people are not respecting the traditional values thus it is becoming demented. The on the beach, there are 'forked limbs of girls toasting their flesh' suggest the ideas of the tourists disgracing the long-established principles of the Caribbean. ...read more.


This is particularly visible when Antoinette claims that she "will be a different person when [she] lives in England and different things will happen to [her]". Due to her loss of identity, she feels 'rootless' as a result she feels that the only way to get her identity back to by moving away from home. However, this is highly ironic as later when she moves to England, she becomes the 'mad woman in the attic'; she does change. However, the readers witness that Bertha has completely different characteristics to Antoinette and perhaps through losing her identity, this is how she became to feel 'rootless' thus changes into Bertha. Both writers see the importance of the ideas of roots and rootlessness, seen especially through their own personal attributes towards these concerns. Both writers' personal background of them being multicultural adds to the fact that they are more personally engaged with the concerns in their writing; both writers expresses anger towards the loss of identity leading into 'rootlessness'. However, Walcott presents ideas of 'roots' and 'rootlessness' on the changes made to his homeland so when he comes back, he does not feel at home, whereas Rhys conveys feelings of 'rootlessness' by putting the characters in a foreign environment where dominance and oppression takes away their identity leading the characters to feel 'rootless'. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree Other Poets 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 University Degree Other Poets essays

  1. Dylan Thomas' The Hand that Signed the Paper

    Locusts, as one of the Plagues of Egypt, are analogous to fear; and could easily be compared to the genesis and rapid, powerful growth of the n**i party. Thomas reiterates the power of the hand with this final line in stanza three, "Great is the hand that holds dominion over / Man by a scribbled name."

  2. "Representation makes dummies of us all" - How is this sentiment reflected in Carol ...

    Duffy often uses broken phrases, single word sentences and stream of consciousness to express the feelings of her characters. 'Education for Leisure' (Selected Poems : 11) sees the association between Gloucester's speech from Act 4 Scene 1 of King Lear and the fly the speaker sees in front of him; "I squash a fly against the window with my thumb.

  1. Displacement and Doubt in Post-Colonial Literature. Olive Seniors Gardening in the Tropics is ...

    representing a quest through the landscape for her identity and place of belonging influenced by her Jamaica and English mix. 'Talking in the Trees' is another collection by Senior in which she first explored the personal questions that remained in her mind of where she belongs.

  2. This essay is mainly focused on Elizabeth Bishops poem One Art, and the recurrent ...

    The poem opens up with the loss of insignificant things, these losses increase in importance and significance as the poem progresses, Bishop is trying to make the reader become familiar with "the art of losing". By embracing loss, the poet takes control over the situation by deciding how she will master "the art of losing", "a continent", "two cities"(line 13)

  1. In What Way Imagist Poetry Influences Modernists

    and discussed the losses it incurred. It is yet important to recognize the efforts of imagists in seeking for a new poetic structure. 3. Unconventional Form: Vers Libre It should be known that the Imagists did not exactly copy the artistic skills of the Classical poetry, especially that of Greek

  2. Silence and Opression in Discourse on the Logic of Language

    have been positioned in society: there is a gap between the main text and the woman's story, and to read the woman's story you have to make an effort - a physical effort" (Carey, cited by Milz). Therefore, the marginal position of the mother-daughter story represents women's marginal position in patriarchy.

  1. Compare and contrast different ways of presenting dominance and oppression in post-colonial societies by ...

    The poem conveys the experience of having one's conventional responses to the iniquities of West Indian history subverted. The concern about the existence of purity and evil at the same time is obvious at the beginning of the poem. This soon escalates in to anger throughout the poem then has the tone of reconciliation at the end.

  2. Free essay

    Cutting A Better Man Out Of The Hedge: a discussion of the relation of ...

    is successfully captured in a musical arrangement by a folk music artist, Loreena McKennitt (refer to music CD attached). The effect recreated in the music is very different to what one would imagine a musical arrangement of any of Heaney's poems would sound like.

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