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Derek Walcott Themes

Satisfactory Essays
Derek Walcott (1930) was born at Castries, St Lucia, an isolated Caribbean island in the West Indies. His father, Warwick, was a Bohemian artist; he died when Walcott was very young. “I was raised in this obscure Caribbean poet,” he later wrote in a poem about his family, “where my bastard father christened for me his Warwick.” Walcott’s mother, Alix, was a teacher. She was very well-read and taught her children poetry.
A central theme that runs throughout Walcott’s works is his search for identity and history. From the beginning, he has intensely felt the antagonism between cultural heritage of the Old World and the traditions of the new one. It seems to revolve around ‘Quest’, the quest for their identity because they feel they have fragmented personality since they are divided between dual heritage and mixed race. Although, Caribbean are of two blood, their skin colour is dark and have the English education and western culture. Now they do not know how to decide. They do not know whether to leave their African ancestry or to continue their indebtment to western education and culture. This is the concern that has troubled the intellectual group of West Indies. So, they seem to look at themselves as divided men.
Walcott tries to find expressions for the difficulties inhered in Caribbean identity. In “A Far Cry from Africa,” he depicts his disparate dilemma in rather brutal formulations:
“The gorilla wrestles with the superman.
I am poisoned by the blood of both,
Where shall I turn, divided to the vein?” (Dutt, 2002, line 26-28)

He expresses how he is torn between “Africa and the English tongue. Derek Walcott often described himself as a “mongrel”; both grandmothers were African and both grandfathers where European. He hated t...

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...e to sense the real beginning of their history either in the form of rumor without any echo or in the form of sound produced by the waves. He says, “There was the sound/like a rumor without any echo/of History, really beginning” (line 78-80). With the ray of hope the poem ends, because Walcott believes their history was in consciousness but now after their independence every individual history will be written or it will be in their memory.
The creative poets such as Walcott try to recreate their history by writing such poems. By means of creative skills he tries to recreate their past moments. By drawing analogies from the Bible he concludes that Biblical analogies are more mythical than historical. He tries to give voice to the communities because his island remained as historically an orphan island. He tries to find answers for the division of blacks and whites.
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