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Essay on The Theme of Violence in A far Cry from Africa and Lady Lazarus

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The Theme of Violence in A far Cry from Africa and Lady Lazarus

Through out both poems, "Lady Lazarus" and a"A Far Cry from Africa", both Sylvia Plath and Derek Walcott use violence as the backdrop for their narration. Both poems have a intense feeling of intimacy with each writer, and each focuses on both internal and external violence. The poems concentrate on both writers personal experiences. The use of violence as a central theme in both poems gives the reader an insight into the real and the personal dilemmas of two characters in two different situations. As both of these poems are written in the same era; the reader is able to compare the two poems even closer and gain a glimpse of two different perspectives in the same time period. Although both poems focus on violence, the causes of the violence are very different.

In "A Far Cry from Africa", the poet Derek Walcott examines his loyalty to the countries of Africa and Britain. He depicts these nations in the standard role of the vanquished and the conqueror. When the poem begins, although in a beautiful region of the planet, the setting is one of horror. There has been a slaughter of the African Tribesman and the "corpses are scattered through a paradise."(4) The tone for the poem is set in the first stanza when one of the British cries "Waste no compassion on these separate dead!". Even though he portrays the English as cruel and imperialistic, he manages to do so without creating sympathy for the African tribesmen that have been slaughtered. The violence was brought about by the colonization of Africa is justified because "Statistics justify and scholars seize the salients of the colonial policy."(7) The violence seen in "A Far Cry from Africa" is ...


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...3) The internal violence is as disturbing to him as the external violence he witnessed is, and he wonders how he will ever be able to live with himself after this incident.

Through out both poems, the reader is presented a insight into two unique, yet parallel types of violence. Both writers experience the turmoil of both internal and external types of violence. Although the circumstances surrounding their despair are totally different, many of the feelings felt through out the poems are encountered by both authors. The feelings of despair when violence is encountered is a common theme in both works, and both have a feeling of intimacy with the narrator. Both Sylvia Path and Derek Walcott use the theme of violence in both poems to give the reader insight into the lives and situations of both of the characters, and the unique ways they handle their despair.


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