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Abandoning Dead Metaphors: The Caribbean Phase of Derek by Patricia Ismond

By Patricia Ismond

This ebook offers with the Caribbean part of Walcott’s poetry. The paintings is anxious with Caribbean id and self-definition. forsaking useless Metaphors uncovers the innovative attempt in a specific exact direction, that has to date remained mostly unobserved.

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The imperial system of domination ("the drunken officer of British rule") is repudiated outright; but there is still a claim to kinship with the western European tradition 42 A bandoning Dead Metaphors of thought. The lines from Another Life quoted earlier yield their full personal significance at this point: "O / mirror, where a generation yearned / for whiteness, for candour, unreturned" (CP, 146). That yearning might be termed "the last infirmity of the anticolonial mind". The net effect and final consequence of this bond is that there is not yet, in this "green" phase, a serious engagement with identity as an issue.

A crucial title poem, "The Castaway" functions as a genuine prospectus of the focal areas and directions of Walcott's creative endeavour in what turns out to be a vital new departure. It makes its statements through a complex process which can be fully decoded only in relation to the peculiar form in which it is presented. 2 Within that fictional framework, which invokes significant parallels with the original Crusoe, the poem dramatizes the psychological process of Walcott experiencing the negations of his native landscape as a Crusoe/castaway figure.

There are personal factors, over and above the idealisms and philosophical precociousness of the young apprentice, which account for the particular weight this carries in his case. Canto IV, where he makes his fullest excursion from the literary to the immediate realities of his environment, paints this picture of the bleak future the island had to offer its native sons on leaving school: They left school and soon became, Magna cum laude, Companions of inanity, knights of the order of rotgut, Others, desiring the unguent of fame, The sick ego, posturing to be applauded, They too succumbed in the wavering season Between forty and dying.

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