The Lie of Imperialism Exposed in Literature Essay

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If postcolonial literature is the “process of dialogue and necessary correction,” of misconceptions concerning colonialism, then a comparative study of colonial and postcolonial works is essential for attaining a full understanding of the far-reaching effects of European imperialism (Groden and Kreiswirth 582). Reading colonial literature in dialogue with postcolonial literature engenders a more complete interpretation of the effects of imperialism by creating a point of reference from which to begin the revelation and the healing of cultural wounds resultant from European colonialism. Postcolonial literature reveals the lie of imperialism by suggesting that colonization was unsolicited by and unjustly administered to …show more content…
In “The Season of Phantasmal Peace,” Walcott attempts to debunk the lie of imperialism. The poem, in the form of a poetic fable, tells of the time when “all the nations of birds lifted together / the huge net of the shadows of this earth” (1-2). Walcott’s birds may represent the colonizers who came from many different nations and brought with them “multitudinous dialects” (3). The specific birds that Walcott mentions geese, ospreys, starlings, and killdeer are all migratory birds that nest in colonies. Like the European colonists, the birds travel many miles to enjoy the abundance of natural resources in warmer climates. Walcott’s poem seems to address the temporary nature of the colonists’ occupation of native lands and mourn the permanent effects that the disruption of native culture incurred. Walcott writes, “this season lasted one moment…but for such as our earth is now, it lasted long” (33-35). The fact that the birds only periodically nest together in a particular area could address the temporary occupation and the historical flight of imperial nations from colonized lands. The purpose of Walcott’s poem seems to require the reader’s honest consideration of the long-term effects of European imperialism on colonized peoples and their descendants.

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