Theme Of The Sorrows Of Yamba

Decent Essays
The Sorrows of Yamba

The poem The Sorrows of Yamba is written by Hannah More/Eaglesfield Smith. This title evokes struggle and tragedy experienced by Yamba—a stereotypical name of an African slave woman. This poem is a ‘slave suicide genre’ , where Yamba, an African slave undergoes a change while attempting suicide. There are various diversions of tone, language, and form in this poem. Each stanza is a series of quatrains with abab as the rhyme scheme. Lines 73-76: Mourning thus my wretched state (Ne’er may I forget the day) Once in a dusk of evening late, Far from home I dar’d to stray.

The narrator begins the passage with a tone of despair through the words ‘mourning’ (73) and ‘wretched’ (73) by portraying the sorrowful state of Yamba. She experiences unforgettable harrowing situations in her life. The slave traders kidnap her with children and sell to cruel masters, where she experiences dehumanising atrocities. Her child perishes. She tries to end her sufferings by
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There is an abrupt change of tone from despair to optimism. The ‘Strand’ (81) becomes a turning point in her life, which changes for good when she luckily meets the ‘English Missionary’ (82) . There is an underlying irony in the word ‘good’ (82) as she has an aversion towards Englishmen for destroying her life and addresses them as ‘savage’ (37) and ‘tyrants’ (55) earlier. The poet uses ‘colloquial’ dialect like ‘Bible book’ (83) . Yamba lacks knowledge of grammar and speaks in ‘broken syntax’ like ‘me no understood’ (84) . The subject ‘I’ (81) changes into the object ‘me’ (84) . Lines 85-88: Led by pity from afar He had left his native ground; Thus, if some inflict a scar, Others fly to cure the
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