An Analysis of Derek Walcott's Poem "A Far Cry from Africa"

2218 Words Sep 28th, 2010 9 Pages
An analysis of Derek Walcott's poem "A Far Cry from Africa" on the influence of colonialism in his language


The so called post colonial literature is actually a body of writings that aim to express response to colonization. Most topics and themes of post colonial literary pieces revolve around the issues demanding freedom of the people from political and cultural colonial rule. Post-colonial literature also attacks literary works insinuating racism or colonial hints. Recently, post-colonial literature proponents began to criticize modern post colonial discussions. Some post colonial critics are trying to re-examine traditional literature. These critics focus their reaction on social discourses of traditional
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Kikuyu is the only African word Walcott put on this poem. Walcott pictures Mau fighters moving with extraordinary speed, familiar with Kenya’s geography. Walcott words for them say, “Batten upon the bloodstreams of the veldt (Baugh, 1978, p. 20-22).” Walcott use of the word batten is surprising. Literarily the word means to fasten or secure a hatch on a ship (Hamner, 1993, p. 12 –14). Violence erupted and Walcott justifies his intention for using this example because he believes he is righteous and humanist. In line 4 to line 6 of the poem, the reader can distinguish the shattering image of a paradise with the description of corpses scattering around the place. His use of sickening details in the words of the poem describing a worm or maggot that thrive on decaying flesh, somehow tell readers that the victims deserve what they got. This thought came from the words in the poem that say, “Waste no compassion on these separate dead”. From line 7 to 10, words such as “justify” and “colonial policy” taken within the context of the poem’s introductory six lines give the exact event of Walcott’s “A Far Cry in Africa”. The poem is talking about the Mau Revolution against the British colonization during the 1950’s. Based on the previous lines, the poet blames the victim but on the latter part he is accusing those people responsible for colonial system in Kenya. Colonizer cannot
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