How can we analyze the poem "A Far Cry from Africa" by post-colonial criticism approach?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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From a postcolonial point of view, Walcott's poem brings out a condition that has been caused by the presence of the "master" over "the slave."  In this colonial dialectic, the pain and suffering endured is not something that exists on one side.  Walcott brings out that the landscape of Africa that has become marred with violence is a result of the colonial policies where European aggressors did much to ruin the balance and harmony that might have existed prior to what is presented in the poem.  The result, as can be seen in the ending, is that there is a genuine feeling that what is present in Africa and what has been in Africa causes a feeling of displacement because both realities and those who have perpetrated it have moved far from the original identity of Africa.  Additionally, Walcott points to a hybridity of violence, a condition where there is enough blame to pass on from the colonizers to the colonized.  The theme of a hybrid identity is inverted a bit when Walcott questions both the British and the African leadership that has brought violence, pain, and suffering to continent and people.  At this, Walcott seems to be loyal to both ends, though disappointed with them, providing the reader with a hybridity of unhappiness.

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