A Critical Analysis of Derek Walcott’s “a Lesson for This Sunday”

872 Words Oct 31st, 2015 4 Pages
Derek Walcott’s “A Lesson for this Sunday” is a steady buildup from a masculine persona lazily remarking a summer’s day; however it quickly turns to a source of annoyance as the cries of children shatter the reflective mirror of paradise leaving him introspective and critical of their actions as they destroy a part of nature. The poem in itself is melodic, not with a particular rhyme scheme however but with the way Walcott wove his words. The poem elicits a theme of deep introspection, contemplation, death and philosophy of human nature.
“A Lesson for this Sunday”, aside from being the title is a window of opportunity to view the poem at face, but a second read foreshadows the end conclusion. The first stanza follows in painting a picture
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Revisiting the title, what takes place certainly is a lesson for the persona as he has come to a sad realization of life, not necessarily for himself but children as they are the ones who often go to school on Sundays. The colour yellow and variants are used throughout the poem, “lemonade… yellow… lemon… summer light,” the colour represents a joy for life, the wings of the butterfly an almost universal symbol of freedom and change, and is symbolic of intellect, the kids being called scientists; ironically the colour is also symbolic of sickness, specifically pestilence, a disease in humanity. Yellow again adheres to and matches the shift change of stanza two where Walcott’s noticeable use of punctuations came alive, the necessary pauses, like the cautionary amber of a stoplight, building traffic, congestion, frustration that the persona displayed.
The poem critically breaks down a philosophical question of humanity, are we inherently destructive? In the face of fear and excitement we see the two sides of the coin the poet flips. The themes came alive like the tentacles of cephalopod, his words dance gracefully in the water of his imagery, his devices, his craft; his words grip the reader and his message is clear. His thoughts are prominent in how in a moment even the most peace-filled thing can be corrupted by the accidental and purposeful whim of

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