dimecres, 19 de febrer de 2014

Caribbean poets and their themes. Theme 1: FORCED IMMIGRATION AND CULTURAL CLASH.

"I leave me people, me land, me home"
It presents immigration as one of the most decisive factors in W.I. H.
The poet explores the feelings that precede and follow the departure from the mother country.
The initial lines already reveal the idea of departure and the uncertainties this decision still causes in the poetic voice. She is not capable yet of providing consistent reasons to explain why she is leaving behind her country and also her past.
She refers to "the sun" and "the humming bird" as indissoluble parts of the Carib landscape, emerging in opposition to the British "snow" and "cold".
In spite of her insecurity, it seems that moving westwards makes the speaker feel a moment of euphoria hoping to fulfil all her expectations in the New World. Nevertheless, her wishful tone turns into disappointment when Lord Nelson's statue appears, suggesting that the immigrant will not be allowed to forget or overcome a past of oppression, slavery and cruelty. The impressive dimension of the statue and the insignificance of the speaker point to meaningful parallelisms between the British imperial might and the Caribbean powerlessness.
The speaker seems not to get used to the hostile weather conditions in Great Britain, which heightens the difficulties of becoming integrated in this new society. From a warm sunny country she encounters a cold, damp and snowy Britain. This coldness could also be applied to the people's distant character. She seems to be complaining about the lack of spontaneity among the British, whose mechanical behaviour clashes with the apparent naturalness of the Car people. All this confusion leads her to affirm that she does not really know where she belongs, reinforcing the dislocation of the W.I.
She uses typical W.- I idiomatic structures ("me", "I not") reproducing the way Car speak English. She also uses a different spelling of words ("de"), reinforcing the idea that English is not only restricted to its RP or BBC pronunciation patterns but also to the multiple ways in which it is spoken.

"Me dah dead fi drink some coaknut water"
The poetic voice is that of one immigrant who nostalgically remembers Jamaica and the exuberance of its landscape.
England is the setting where the speaker celebrates the Jamaican environment and folklore to establish a contrast with the context in which she is now living. Beginning with explicit allusions to its gastronomy and typical products such as the breadfruit or coconut water.
She expresses her wishes from a distance that makes it impossible to enjoy Jamaica's mildness of weather again. The W.- I landscape became an element that built up the people's identity.
She keeps suggesting that she misses the spontaneity of Jamaica and its rural background, which clashes with the modernisation and urban growth undergone by England. This also enlarges the gap that exists between the Car and Europ lifestyles. And she states that she misses the presence of other black people with whom to share common experiences, responding to a reality immigrants endure after leaving their country. Black people are downgraded, isolated and reminded of their racial background, which drags them to a life of seclusion and privacy. The Car immigrant makes great efforts to become integrated and to appreciate the beauty of the surrounding environment. However, memories of Jamaica trigger the speaker's desire to return home, perhaps due to the fact that her Eur experience has proved a failure. For her Jamaica, in spite of its poverty, means to overcome the feeling of displacement she goes through daily in England.
She makes use of "Patois", a specific version of English in Jamaica, that faithfully reproduces the rhythmic and speech particularities of this variety, capturing the essence of spoken language.

"Things harness me here, I long"
It presents a satiric approach to the pointlessness of W civilisation, opening with several allusions to familial ties. The concept of family is articulated upon the close relatives and the "extended family", friends or neighbours who can take care of children:
-       She sadly remembers the warmth and affection of her family, which clashes with the coldness and intramural life of English people,
·         which impels her to complain about the way the British are zealous of their privacy,
·         which contrasts with the sense of collective identity that surges in the Car communities.
It points at excessive individualism as one of the traits that distinguishes W life from Car:
-       Her communal conscience is unable to understand the reasons that lead people to lock themselves in their houses, hindering the development of a more integrated and cooperative society.

The poem's main idea is that the WI living in Britain eventually leave their past behind, and even their identity, to become part of a reality that is not satisfying at all:
-       The poet unmasks the inner contradictions of W civilisation in which economic success usually comes as a result of sacrificing one's own happiness.
-        She states that, contrary to her former life in the Car, her money income is regular for the first time, although it is not a synonym of joy, for she does not laugh as much as she did at home.
-        Her depressed state of being is reinforced by the weather conditions, which explain why life in this country is intramural.
In the last section, Lucy ironically states that she is a sponge,:
-       but what she manages to absorb has nothing to do with either the E culture, language or customs,
-       but precisely all the shortcomings of modern lifestyle: noise, pollution, hypocrisy and lack of communication.

The poem is conceived as a dialogue between Lucy and an unknown addressee. And it calls to the "call and response" phenomenon that forms part of the black Car and A-A communities.