Healing into Wholeness: Individuals Transformed into a Collective Heroic Being in Derek Walcott's Omeros

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Healing into Wholeness: Individuals Transformed into a Collective Heroic Being in Derek Walcott's Omeros

"No man is an Island, entire of himself; every man is a piece of the Continent, a part of the Main."

Individual heroic deeds and characteristics are the seeds upon which a culture's values are based and these define a culture while also defining each individual's identity. Ancient and modern epics define heroic behavior through mostly male heroic figures, but female characters share an equally important role in defining a culture's identity and values. Equally so, a culture or race can be collectively conceived of as a whole or as the sum of its parts. While characteristics such as honor, honesty, courage, pride, respect, and
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Walcott's epic redefines this heroic transaction between winners and losers to follow an integrated approach, almost philosophically more Eastern than Western in design, where all are winners through a healing rather than a defeat. Those who do lose their life (Hector and Maud) do not die at the hand of others, but because of other consequences: either their own carelessness (Hector's reckless driving) or the nature of illness (Maud's incurable cancer). Life happens on the island-life and death, but somehow they seem more natural on this island in the Caribbean with the present threats to life being illness and economic shifts, as opposed to the bloody battles of the Greek Isles.

The narrator's behavior and transforation can also be defined as heroic. He is in mental and hallucinatory pursuit of Omeros (Homer) as he physically and mentally travels the world. He comes to realize he does not need to defeat Homer in order to write his epic. In their verbal fencing match in Book Seven, the narrator says, "I saw you in London,"… "sunning on the steps of St. Martin-in-the-Fields" (Omeros 282). He injures with words when he confesses that he has not read Homer's works "all the way through" (283). Omeros growls, "read the rest" (283), becomes silent and waits for his opponent's next verbal shot or play. If the narrator were to think of Omeros as an enemy he might take a defensive stand. Instead, the narrator returns without

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