Struggle In Derek Walcott's A Far Cry From Africa

1564 Words 7 Pages
Understanding where we stand and more specifically, who we stand with is a never ending struggle. People yearn to unite and feel whole within their identities. This task can be daunting when the individual finds themselves differing from the homogenous makeup of their communities. With multiple identities brewing inside, it can be hard to accept one without ignoring the others. Multi-ethnic folx have historically struggled greatly with an Imposter Syndrome and how they can confidently accept their complex identities without abandoning any of them. Derek Walcott's A far Cry From Africa is a perfect example of poetry reflecting a historical racial divide from within. The poem delves into the existence of black and white bodies in the same space. …show more content…
In 1952 the British invaded Kenyan in order to take control of their lands. Although, these lands were not unsettled. The Kikuyu people were an ethnic group that populated the majority of Kenya. When the British army barged through the land they committed thousands of atrocities in order to eradicate all barriers. With the killings proceeding, Winston Churchill saw the negative impact a one-sided war did to a nation. With this in mind it was no surprise that the Kikuyu people needed to be villainized which Walcott gladly perpetuates in his line “violence of beast on beast is read”. This line insinuates that even in this genocide the victims are still seen as monsters and just as harmful as the colonizer. This inherently puts Walcott on the colonizers side. Sympathy for the colonizer is dehumanization for the …show more content…
Jhan Hochman who carries a Ph.D. in English, focuses on the animality of A Far Cry From Africa. In his essay he examines the impact Walcott’s visuals and language has on the representation of Africa and Britain. But first Hochman draws his attention on Walcott’s meticulous use of distance in order to avoid showing any loyalties. He watches as this choice backfires when the distance begins to dehumanize the Mau Mau group. While Walcott title insinuates a distance that reflects his own distance to his two battling identities it causes the reader to believe he is purposefully distancing himself from his African roots. Hochman argues that Walcott uses extremely positive diction when speaking about Britain. For example, the line “the english tongue I love” shows Walcott’s birth loyalty. The line “white ibises” draws an analogy with the white man to the native grand bird of Africa. This parallel proclaims the occupation of Kenya by the white man as natural and a part of the land. These grand birds have been found in Kenya for centuries and stating the British and the bird hold the same kind of significance is clear sign of sympathy and admiration for the colonizer. Hochman states “While the metaphor of “ibis equals white person” may work with the thrust of the poem, it is far too positive an image to represent the whites who took Kenya away from

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