What is the main theme of the poem "Elsewhere" by Derek Walcott?

Derek Wallace’s poem “Elsewhere” has many themes. It can be read as a poem about the narrator’s experience as a black man in America, or one can find echoes of colonialism and what it means to be on the side of the colonized. Its theme could be injustice, and the barbed wire indicates that prison may be a theme, too.

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The theme in Derek Walcott’s “Elsewhere” can be seen through the lens of repetition. The word "somewhere" is repeated over and over to emphasize a specific tone, meaning, and intent to the poem, which opens with the following stanza:

Somewhere a white horse gallops with its mane
plunging round a field whose sticks
are ringed with barbed wire, and men
break stones or bind straw into ricks.

Opening with "somewhere," the poem alludes to a far-off place, a locale that is distant and perhaps foreign to the audience. The poem can be read as an expression of social injustice, specifically racial injustice. As such, the term “white horse” can be read as a reference to white cultural purity, with the image of the white stallion connoting an obsession with cultural aires that reflects the nature of a dominant, privileged white society.

More notably, the image of the horse galloping around the barbed wire suggests a tension between the white racial purity of the stallion and the men who "break...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 1128 words.)

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