LITR 5831 World / Multicultural Literature

Poetry Presentation

Poetry reading: Derek Walcott, “A Far Cry from Africa”

reader: Caryn Livingston

27 October 2015

From course objectives: “Can Colonizers be understood as other than villains? Must the Colonized be cast as victims? Does dehumanizing the other automatically dehumanize the self, or may it be liberating? (Moral opposition increases drama, but moral relativism cultivates relations.)” How does Walcott’s poem deal with this problem?

a.       Walcott condemns colonial aggression without painting the colonized as simple victims: Mau Mau uprising

b.      “The gorilla wrestles with the superman.” (line 25) – not just a conquering, colonialism is compared to a sort of contest.

2.      What similar issues do Walcott’s narrator and Jasmine face?

a.       Conflicts between old and new worlds: both want to embrace parts of the colonizer, but not totally reject their roots in the colonized land.

b.      Post-colonial identity: “I who am poisoned with the blood of both, / Where shall I turn, divided to the vein?” (lines 26-7)