Please give me the summary of the poem, "A Far Cry from Africa"?  

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teachersage eNotes educator| Certified Educator

"A Far Cry from Africa" is poet Derek Walcott's cry of pain over the situation in Kenya in the 1950s. At that time, Kenya was still a British colony, and local Kenyans chafed under the long term injustices of British rule. A nationalist uprising of Kenyan nationalists called Mau Mau led to the death of about 13,000 people, most of them Kenyan, along with a huge number of animals.

In the poem, Walcott decries man's inhumanity toward man in trying to enact justice through slaughter, and compares it unfavorably to nature and the animal kingdom. He also expresses anger at the way the deaths are reduced to statistics or abstractions. This obscures the reality of the dead and their suffering, whether they are white or so-called "savages."

Walcott, in his second stanza, then expresses how torn he feels in his loyalties. He is from a British Caribbean colony, so he understands the plight of a colonial, but he also perceives himself as British. He is frustrated with both sides over the violence.

Because he is writing this in the Caribbean, his title is a pun. He is physically "a far cry" from Africa, but he is also hearing a cry of pain that has reverberated far and wide across the earth.

It is the heartfelt emotional intensity of the poet's voice, as well as the vivid natural imagery, that gives this poem its power.

brandih eNotes educator| Certified Educator

"A Far Cry from Africa" discusses the events of the Mau Mau Uprising in Kenya in the early 1950s. You can find a good summary broken down by lines on eNotes at the link provided below.

Read the study guide:
A Far Cry from Africa

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